A group of four young men are wanted for robbing $20,000 worth of merchandise from an Apple Store, all caught on security cameras in broad daylight - the latest in a series of lootings across California.
The incident took place at Santa Rosa Plaza, about an hour from San Francisco, on Wednesday morning.
Four young men, believed by police to be between the ages of 14 and 18, entered and grabbed the merch before fleeing in what authorities called a 'brazen daytime burglary' in broad daylight.
A detective from the Santa Rosa Police Department said they weren’t notified about the theft until 10 minutes after it occurred due to an Apple in-house protocol.
The latest string of robberies in the Golden State started last Friday in San Francisco and are ratcheting up as the holiday shopping season is getting into full swing.
Police have released photos of at least two of the suspects wanted for robbing $20,000 worth of merchandise from an Apple Store in Santa Rosa, California
The robbery was called 'brazen' as it happened on a Wednesday morning in broad daylight
In the last week, thieves have made off with tens of thousands of dollars in luxury goods, amid soft misdemeanor theft laws in the Democrat-run state.
Around 20 robbers smashed their way into a Nordstrom at The Grove retail complex in LA on Monday night, making off with $5,000 worth of merchandise; and a CVS pharmacy in the city was struck just an hour later, where looters stole $8,000 from a cash register.
Law enforcement say that mercenary thieves are being recruited for up to $1,000 to steal the expensive goods which are then shipped across state lines and sold on the internet. The sophisticated method makes it harder for cops to track the criminals.
The thieves sped off and managed to escape despite multiple police cruisers, as well as fire trucks and ambulances, responding to the raid (pictured: cop cars outside the Nordstrom in Canoga Park on Wednesday night)
A police car outside the Nordstrom on Wednesday night after thieves made off with around eight luxury handbags
Monday's brazen thefts in Los Angeles come after three consecutive days of organized shoplifting in the Bay Area
San Francisco has seen a dramatic increase in crime rates across the board, particularly in larceny thefts
California Governor Gavin Newsom vowed on Monday to get tough with organized gangs of thieves who have ransacked and looted luxury retail stores in the San Francisco Bay Area
Police in Palo Alto announced Wednesday that two women had been arrested in connection with a Sunday night attempt to steal items from the RealReal clothing boutique downtown.
Proposition 47 was passed by California voters on November 5, 2014.
It made some 'non-violent' property crimes, where the value of the stolen goods does not exceed $950, into misdemeanors.
It also made some 'simple' drug possession offenses into misdemeanors, and allows past convictions for these charges to be reduced to a misdemeanor by a court.
Under California law, though, if two or more person's conspire to 'cheat and defraud any person or any property, by any means which are in themselves criminal' they can face no more than one year in county prison, a fine of $10,000 or a combination of the two.
Police said 30 to 40 people arrived in some 20 cars and tried to break down the glass front door but it held. A security guard reported the effort and the crowd fled as police arrived.
The women were stopped in a car where police said they found at least $15,000 in clothes from a second RealReal location that was burglarized in Larkspur earlier that night.
Meanwhile, five people pleaded not guilty Wednesday to felony charges involving thefts in San Francisco.
Nine people have been charged in connection with Friday night attacks on stores including Louis Vuitton, Burberry and Bloomingdale's in the downtown area and in Union Square, a posh shopping district popular with tourists that was teeming with holiday shoppers.
Ben Dugan, president of the Coalition of Law Enforcement and Retail, said: 'We're not talking about someone who needs money or needs food. These are people who go out and do this is for high profit, and for the thrill.'
Other major US cities have also seen a spike in store break-ins, including Chicago and its suburbs, where more than a dozen suspects attacked a Louis Vuitton store last week and stole more than $120,000 worth of high-end clothing and other merchandise.
Aside from the organized crime rings, the growing problem has been attributed to police officers' apparent reluctance to pursue retail criminals in the current political climate, prosecutors' failure to prioritize larceny and theft, and the decriminalization of low-level offenses in some jurisdictions.
Meanwhile, two progressive criminal justice experts suggested the news media and law enforcement officials should stop using the term 'looting' to describe the brazen store robberies, arguing that the term is racist.
Lorenzo Boyd, a professor of criminal justice & community policing at the University of New Haven, and Martin Reynolds, co-executive director of the Robert C. Maynard Institute of Journalism Education, urged news outlets to refer to the crimes as 'organized smash-and-grabs.'
Boyd and Martin's remarks immediately opened the floodgates of mockery on Twitter, with critics on the right mercilessly pillorying the 'woke' experts.
Conservative activist and former convicted felon Dinesh D'Souza tweeted: 'Experts refuse to call a spade a spade, unless, of course, it's a spade wielded by a white male.'
Ex-Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker compared it to the language used in the wake of the Jacob Blake shooting in Wisconsin: 'It's looting. Just like there were riots in Kenosha, not just protests.'
Best Buy CEO Corie Berry said this week that the situation has become so dire that her company is stepping up security measures to protect its staff and shoppers.
'This is traumatizing for our associates and is unacceptable,' Barry said on a call with analysts on Tuesday. 'We are doing everything we can to try to create [an] as safe as possible environment.'
A day earlier, California Gov Gavin Newsom vowed to crack down on gangs of retail thieves, despite a controversial 2014 law - Proposition 47 - that barred prosecutors from charging suspected shoplifters accused of stealing less than $950 worth of merchandise with felonies.
A group of about 40 to 50 teenage shoplifters made off with an unknown amount of jewelry and other items in Hayward, California, on Sunday. Experts and officials say national crime networks are behind many of the 'smash-and-grab ' operations
A suspect was seen running away with an armful of merchandise after stealing from a Louis Vuitton store in San Francisco's Union Square on Friday night
Los Angeles police say at least 20 people used sledgehammers to break the glass at a Nordstrom on Monday night and ransack its shelves