Brazen flash mob-style robbery of Walnut Creek Nordstrom sparks outrage from city leaders

"It was like something out of the movies, it was insane."

ByCornell Barnard via KGO logo
Monday, November 22, 2021
EMBED <>More Videos

New security measures are in place in one East Bay city, a day after a brazen crime which can only be described as a flash mob robbery.

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (KGO) -- New security measures are in place in one East Bay city, a day after a brazen crime which can only be described as a flash mob robbery. More than 80 people stormed the Nordstrom department store Saturday and made off with merchandise.

"There was a mob of people and police coming in, it was like something out of the movies, it was insane," said witness Brett Barrett.

Witnesses couldn't believe the chaos outside the Walnut creek Nordstrom store Saturday night. A flash mob robbery was unfolding, 80 to 100 people rushed into the store, minutes before closing. Police say two store employees were assaulted, one was pepper sprayed.

Amanda Arvin was inside the store.

"I panicked, I'm not going to lie, I didn't know what was happening, they told us to go to the other side of the store," said Arvin.

RELATED: 3 arrested, firearm recovered from Walnut Creek Nordstrom store looting involving 80 people: Police

"We received reports of people dressed in masks and dark clothing, running into Nordstrom blocking streets with their cars, using crowbars running out with property," said Walnut Creek Police Lieutenant Holley Conners.

Police say those cars, some with license plates covered helped suspects make a fast getaway but not all, three people were arrested.

This is a terrible crime, I'm horrified to see this happen especially in Walnut Creek," said Mayor Kevin Wilk.

Wilk says security measures have been increased at Broadway Plaza Shopping Center, with more police and street closures.

RELATED: SF leaders on Union Square looting, vandalism: 'Won't tolerate this kind of behavior'

"This is obviously a coordinated activity, an organized group of people working together, using social media to communicate with each other," Wilk added.

In May 2020, the shopping center was vandalized and looted following the death of George Floyd.

And last Friday in San Francisco's Union Square, luxury retailers like Louis Vuitton were vandalized and looted by groups of people. Walnut Creek Police are now investigating if the crimes are connected.

"I don't know that answer, only people involved know," said Connors.

WATCH: Video shows decimated San Francisco Louis Vuitton store after massive smash-and-grab robbery

Shoppers admit they're uneasy about the brazen crime.

"This is a beautiful community you shouldn't have to fear walking down the friggin' street that a gang of people running in here stealing materialistic stuff," said Mack Jacob from Oakland.

RELATED: 'Unacceptable': Mayor Breed says changes will be coming to SF after brazen Union Square robbery

The mayor is calling for stiff penalties for those arrested.

"We will be encouraging the DA's office to charge them with the most serious crimes possible, ideally they will be spending a long time behind bars," said Wilk.

The Nordstrom store closed early Sunday. A sign on the door said it was out of an abundance of caution.