For the third time in two months, a gang of thieves has stormed a high-end retailer in Palo Alto to commit a brazen “grab-and-run” robbery of pricey goods, police said.
“A coordinated group of seven suspects went into the open The RealReal store on Monday afternoon in downtown Palo Alto, escaping with more than $50,000 in handbags,” police stated. “The suspects caused no injuries, and while a gun was mentioned when a security officer attempted to intervene, none was seen. The suspects are at large.”
Thieves targeted the city’s Louis Vuitton store on June 7. In that incident, 11 robbers stole 36 handbags, running out with $100,000 in lost merchandise. On May 19, ten thieves hit the Neiman Marcus store at the Stanford Shopping Center, running out of the store with 43 handbags worth $150,000.
“On Monday, June 21, at about 5:56 p.m., our 24-hour dispatch center received a call from a security guard at The RealReal, a store at 379 University Avenue, reporting that a large group of suspects had just committed a theft and fled the scene,” police continued. “Officers responded immediately but the suspects had already fled.”
The tactic used in the latest robbery appears to be similar to others.
“The investigation revealed that five suspects entered the open store and began ripping handbags from security cables,” police continued. “The store’s on-duty security officer (a man in his thirties) attempted to block their exit, but they pushed him out of the way. When he followed them out of the store, he encountered two additional suspects who had remained outside during the theft. One of those suspects told the other to ‘pull the gun,’ and that other suspect then in turn told the security officer, ‘Don’t make me the pull the gun.’”
“The security officer never saw a weapon,” investigators said. “All seven suspects then ran eastbound on University Avenue, and the security officer reported hearing tires screeching from vehicles on Waverley Street. No vehicles were seen. Employees estimated that the suspects stole about 20 handbags, with a total value of more than $50,000.”
Many stores have instructed employees and guards to not chase after or physically confront robbers over liability concerns.
"The security officer and another employee (a woman in her twenties) could only describe the suspects as black males in their early twenties,” police said of the suspects. "All were wearing face coverings and hooded clothing with the hoods up. Police will not be releasing any surveillance images of the incident, as the footage would not aid in the identification of the suspects.”
Police also said they believe the thieves have targeted other retailers in the region.
“Officers are actively investigating this case, to include working with regional partners to see if the same group of suspects may be connected to any similar burglary shoplifts in other cities,” according to investigators. “Police are exploring whether this incident may be associated with two other recent similar cases that occurred at Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto."
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to Palo Alto Police dispatchers at (650) 329-2413. Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to email@example.com or sent via text message or voice mail to (650) 383-8984.