GRANADA HILLS, Calif. -- A bystander's viral video shows two shoplifters casually walking out of a Granada Hills TJ Maxx store in broad daylight, carrying armfuls of stolen merchandise.
The footage was posted on social media by Instagram user @inflnzr, who said the incident occurred on Saturday.
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"I kept my distance for safety reasons," the person who recorded the video, who declined to be identified publicly, told our sister station KABC-TV. "My focus was to get a license plate number, but when I lost them behind the SUV. I had to hold back a bit, just in case they were waiting for me. Unfortunately they were able to get into their vehicle parked at a distance and drive away."
The 80-second clip begins with one suspect, wearing a purple hoodie, walking out of the store's front entrance carrying at least half a dozen pairs of pants -- all of them still on hangers -- under each arm. He is followed by an apparent accomplice, who is holding a pile of clothing with his hands and carrying a massive tote bag on his back.
No one attempts to stop the shoplifters as they exit the TJ Maxx and head to the parking lot outside.
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"What's up guys?" says the man behind the camera, who follows them. "I want to see how far you guys get." He then records their car as it drives away.
No arrests have been announced in connection with the crime. A Los Angeles Police Department spokesperson said the agency was aware of the incident and that a report was taken.
TJ Maxx did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The theft occurred days before Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law aimed at curbing organized retail theft, which has been costing California businesses millions of dollars annually.
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The law reestablishes the crime of organized retail theft, which lawmakers first created in 2018 but allowed to lapse as of July 1. Prosecutors can again seek to charge the crime as either a misdemeanor or a felony. It applies to those who work with others to steal merchandise either from brick-and-mortar stores or online, with the intent to sell or return the merchandise.
The legislation also applies to someone who works with others to receive stolen merchandise, those who steal for others as part of an organized theft ring or people who do the recruiting or organizing for the theft ring.
The rings have become bolder in recent years, officials said, and videos of their smash-and-grabs have gone viral.
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Newsom signed the law at a store in Long Beach, surrounded by several mayors and law enforcement officials.
However, police agencies in California will have to contend with local prosecutors, who decide whether to charge an offender with a misdemeanor or felony, if at all. Progressive district attorneys such as those in San Francisco and Los Angeles have pledged to avoid stiff penalties, sentencing enhancements and incarceration for certain crimes.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.