Horrifying footage shows the moment up to 50 looters ransacked a luxury accessories concession at a Los Angeles Nordstrom store.
The footage shows men in dark hoodies and face masks ransacking the department store at Westfield Topanga Mall, even resorting to attacking security guards with bear spray.
Videos have rapidly circulated on social media, depicting the mob shattering display cases and grabbing high-end designer accessories, some still affixed with electronic security tags.
One of the thieves was even seen pulling a large metal display shelf behind him as he fled, with a luxury leather bag still affixed to it by a security tag.
The group sprinted to the door in an attempt to make swift exit from the store, securing as much merchandise as they can carry.
The thieves took off with thousands of dollars worth of luxury handbags and designer clothing, an LAPD spokesman told NBC News.
The group swarmed the store at around 4pm on Saturday, scooping up armfuls of items, some inadvertently dropping amid the chaos, as they maneuvered around shattered glass and overturned mannequins.
The men appeared to be targeting the luxury Italian fashion brand Bottega Veneta, known for its signature woven leather handbags.
Investigators believe the group stole about $60,000 and $100,000 worth of merchandise.
The criminals used bear spray to attack at least two security guard at the store. The extent of their injuries are unclear.
Bear spray, deployed from pressurized canisters, contains capsaicin and other ingredients that can inflame the eyes and upper respiratory system.
Mall goers were not evacuated and it is unclear if anyone was injured. There have no arrests reported at this time. Police are searching for 30 to 50 suspects.
Witnesses watched the looters free, several in vehicles, including Lexus and BMW cars.
Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass responded to the incident in a statement issued Saturday evening: ‘What happened today at the Nordstrom in the Topanga Mall is absolutely unacceptable,’ she wrote.
In the statement, Bass assured the public that the police will find those responsible.
‘Those who committed these acts and acts like it in neighboring areas must be held accountable. The Los Angeles Police Department will continue to work to not only find those responsible for this incident but to prevent these attacks on retailers from happening in the future,’ she added.
The same Nordstrom store at Westfield Topanga, was looted in November 2021 when robbers attacked a security guard with bear spray and stole designer purses.
Videos posted online showed multiple people in dark clothes, hoods and masks running into and then quickly out of the store at the Americana at Brand shortly before 5pm Tuesday.
Glendale police said the thieves got away with about $300,000 worth of merchandise, after they overwhelmed the staff and took everything they could in less than a minute.
None of the thieves used any weapons in the brazen scheme, and no injuries were reported.
An investigation is ongoing, as California continues to deal with a spate of robberies after lawmakers lowered the punishment for thefts of merchandise under $950.
Robberies have become almost commonplace in California, where thefts of objects valued at $950 or less are misdemeanors.
Those convicted of such a crime can face six months in a county jail, but in most cases cops do not even bother to press charges.
Last month, another group of brazen thieves stole roughly $300,000 in jewelry from a store in La Verne.
The thieves were caught on camera slamming a white sedan into the Rodeo Jewelers on July 1 before they started smashing cases.
The robbery occurred in broad daylight and the owner, who came out from the back of the store, was assaulted with a chair while confronting the group.
That same weekend, thieves also got away with over $700,000 in rare wines imported from France and Italy and for sale at a California shop.
Shoplifters could be taking advantage of a new law that downgrades property theft of less than $950 to a misdemeanor – meaning it’s punishable for only up to six months in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
In many cases, the thieves face no pursuit and no punishment.
The California Senate also passed legislation in May that prevents employees to confront active shooters or shoplifters in California.
Supporters say it protects staff from violence, but stores and employees themselves say the move will only embolden further shoplifting.