That's A Crime

30 Masked Thieves Steal $300K Of Merchandise From Nordstrom Store (2023)

November 01, 2023 Just Curious Media Episode 67
That's A Crime
30 Masked Thieves Steal $300K Of Merchandise From Nordstrom Store (2023)
That's A Crime +
Help us continue making great content for listeners everywhere.
Starting at $3/month
Support
Show Notes Transcript

That's A Crime
Episode 67: 30 Masked Thieves Steal $300K Of Merchandise From Nordstrom Store (2023)

Jason Connell and Sal Rodriguez break down the true crime story of the 30 Masked Thieves Steal $300K Of Merchandise From Nordstrom Store in 2023. On August 12, 2023, a massive Smash-and-Grab took place at the Westfield Topanga Shopping Center in Canoga Park, CA. At least 30 individuals participated in the Flash Rob and managed to escape with more than $300K of merchandise.

Recorded: 10-13-23
Studio: Just Curious Media
https://www.JustCuriousMedia.com/

Listen:
https://ThatsACrime.buzzsprout.com/

Watch:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbw014MVA3wQM8INVVe0Obw/

Follow:
https://www.facebook.com/ThatsACrimePodcast/
https://www.instagram.com/ThatsACrimePodcast/

Hosts:
https://www.instagram.com/MrJasonConnell/
https://www.instagram.com/SalvadorLosAngeles/

#justcuriousmedia #thatsacrime #mrjasonconnell #salvadorlosangeles #truecrime #misdemeanor #murder #mystery #suspense #thriller #horror #criminal #serialkiller #thief #suspect #victim #guilty #jail #prison #30maskedthievessteal300kofmerchandisefromnordstromstore

Support the show

Jason Connell:

Whoa, just curious. Welcome to disk curious media. This is that's a crime. I'm Jason Connell.

Sal Rodriguez:

And I'm Sal Rodriguez.

Jason Connell:

All right, so we are back with another crime.

Sal Rodriguez:

Yeah. And this falls under heist. Would you say this is a heist? These are high, you

Jason Connell:

know, high stitch.

Sal Rodriguez:

Yeah. Hi, Steve.

Jason Connell:

I like it because today we're breaking down the True Crime Story of the 30 Masked thieves steal $300,000 of merchandise from Nordstrom store in 2023. That is a lot of loot Sal. And that is a lot of criminals.

Sal Rodriguez:

Yeah, that's a big group 30 of them. When I was when I was a young hoodlum, I could maybe wrangle about six of us at once. That's about it.

Jason Connell:

Six is a lot. Well, this is fascinating. There's a video accompanying this. And also Sal, this is kind of a trend. I mean, maybe not the 30. But we have done one of these crimes before. You've heard about him as well. Some were happening during the pandemic when I was living in Los Angeles. So were you there was also a lock down in LA, there was looting. So that was one thing, it kind of became, you know, people were taking advantage. But this is a new trend, which is crazy. And that's a lot of things to orchestrate, and also an impossible thing to stop being an employee at a store. And here comes a surge of people. And they're actually calling this, which I love the term I was gonna save it. But flash Rob, which is a play on flash mobs where 30, or 40, or 50, or 100 people come into a store or do whatever, they could be in the middle of the street, they could go into Times Square, it doesn't matter. And people all in sync are doing something and all attentions on them. Well, this is like the dark version of that. So flash, Rob.

Sal Rodriguez:

Yeah, I have to think though, a couple of things come to mind. First of all, it's hard for me to have a lot of I don't know if they were to sympathy but high end corporate retailers. I'm not shedding tears. Exactly. I don't condone this behavior. They should have to face consequences. But you know, it's not like they, you know, stole from an orphanage. You know what I mean? True,

Jason Connell:

true. But let's delve into things. Some things to unpack here. It's kind of fun, because on the lighter side, but it is a trend. So

Sal Rodriguez:

we just said like to us not like to those retailers. Oh,

Jason Connell:

okay, True. True. True. I mean, no one was murdered. That's still bad. This is a lot of money. This makes Costco for everybody. It's not a good crime. This isn't a pleasant crime. But it's not murder, or something sadistic, however, so you can be at a target. And there can be a flash Rob and you can be like, what's happening here? So be on the lookout for this type of crime. I will I will look out for it. So on August 12 2023, just after 4pm a massive smash and grab took place at the Westfield Topanga shopping center in Canoga Park, California, Sal, I have been to this very shopping center on many occasions. Not a part of a flash, Rob, but I know well I'm sure you're familiar too. Oh,

Sal Rodriguez:

yeah, absolutely. As a matter of fact, the company Westfield, which I think is an Australian company, if I'm not mistaken, could be bought up all the malls in the area. So our cleaned them up. They look nice. Well, I remember when it was just called Topanga Mall. It was a crap. It's crap. So Westfield came along. Yeah, spruce things up a bit. And now I'm pretty certain that all the malls in the San Fernando Valley are all Westfield if I'm not mistaken.

Jason Connell:

Yeah. And they're really they really are nice. They've done a good job. They have outdoor restaurants, they have nice grass, and they've done a very clean job because I moved out to Woodland Hills for a few years and went to this mall. It's like, oh, this is nice. I didn't expect it. Okay, I was used to the grove or the Americana. And it was like our century cities Mall. Very nice. Well, back to the crime around 30 to potentially 50 But there was 31 confirmed on the LAPD website but 30 to 50 individuals participated in the flash Rob as they entered the Nordstrom store creating turmoil and employing bear spray against the security staff. Now that may sound harmless to some but why don't you educate us on bear spray?

Sal Rodriguez:

Well you know I did have to Google this JSON even though most of us I myself included am familiar with pepper spray in fact I have some pepper spray in my car I keep some there actually to be specific pepper gel I learned pepper gel is better than pepper spray has a more direct line of what scope or impact on target whatever anyway, pepper spray Yeah, I know about it, but bear spray much more serious. Yeah, and I was surprised to read about this bear You can't

Jason Connell:

get it everywhere. By the way, in some states, you can even order it.

Sal Rodriguez:

Oh, you can just walk into a store and buy it necessarily not every state. Yes. Okay, I bet you can't get it in California but

Jason Connell:

you have to go I don't think you can. I don't think you can actually you have to go

Sal Rodriguez:

to like shields in Montana, I believe to get something like that. But bear spray is a deterrent made of red pepper oil, it inflames the eyes and upper respiratory system. If used properly, it can effectively deter and aggressive bear. The more widely known pepper spray is designed to temporarily incapacitate a human attacker, whereas bear spray contains a higher concentration of the active ingredient, making it the stronger spray and is designed to be shot at a further distance from the attacker. So much more heavy duty to mess around with bear spray.

Jason Connell:

And these people are rolling up on the security staff just and they're not big bears probably no. So this is got to be very painful. i There's no more talk of the how the security felt with their eyes. And they were just incapacitated. Not good. I'm sure everybody's feeling it. Because if someone pepper sprays I've been in a restaurant or bar years ago to say what's that. And pepper spray in one area of a restaurant or a bar gets over the whole area very quickly. And everybody's looking for cover. Imagine getting hit with it, especially this bear spray.

Sal Rodriguez:

And then if you're if you're in a kind of room that maybe has central air conditioning, it gets into the vents. And you got to literally back this is airborne. Yeah, gotta get out of the place.

Jason Connell:

So during the Norstrom robbery, the large group of thieves donned masks and remove security devices from high end clothing and other desirable items. Now, no one's sustained injuries except for the security stuff. But the perpetrators managed to escape with items valued more than$300,000 sale, that is a whopping amount of money merchandise, that's like well calculated 30 People go in 30 plus people go in, and you're coming out with over $300,000 of gear Nordstroms does have high end items, because it carries a lot of different brands. But like I'm astonished by this amount, like were they grabbing like Gucci bags? And I mean, it just That's unbelievable.

Sal Rodriguez:

Well, obviously they took this took a lot of orchestration and planning, most likely. So you could instruct each individual to take care of let's say, 10,000 Your job is to take $10,000 of merchandise, and everybody takes 10,000 So yeah, 300,000 among 30 people makes total sense if everybody's responsible for 10 grand.

Jason Connell:

Larry, what do you get? I only got $100 worth of stuff.

Sal Rodriguez:

You're out of the gang. You're on to the gang man.

Jason Connell:

He's gone. Well, my question to you, Sal. And this is one of the lighter side but how do they split this up? Like, you know, is this going to be? Wait, we'll let the storm go over and then we'll start selling it on eBay or selling it somewhere? Or are they just gonna split it up? Like what's that meeting like? And also a second to that. It's hard to keep another person quiet about a heist you got away with? Think of 30 people, someone's gonna like do a post or tell the wrong people. Like I'm not going to be shocked that these people are found because of hearsay. And people are like, Oh yeah, we tracked your Instagram do an article of clothing that was taken so I don't know how you keep this under wraps. I really don't.

Sal Rodriguez:

I would imagine that as technology increases where people are able to put trackers geo locate Yeah, the higher end the item if you could stick that little what Chip somewhere could probably find air tag. Yeah, stick a little chip inside of a $500 pair of jeans somewhere in the BeltLine, you know that stuff could probably work. I think that we've learned by watching enough movies Jason that the way that the loot is split up is usually a gang like this a group like this will have a leader the leader is brought all the loot everyone essentially gives the loot to the leader the leader decides who gets what and divvies as they see fair and accordingly I guess based on your position and seniority and so forth. This sounds like the mob everything is many it was mob or mini mob or mini or mob that's all this is

Jason Connell:

a flash mob that does the flash Rob This is it behind the scenes. In

Sal Rodriguez:

fact most likely whoever orchestrated this Jason I'm willing to bet whoever was in charge ultimately in charge was not even there that day.

Jason Connell:

Yeah, wasn't there I was gonna I knew you're gonna say that. Well, let's look at the video of this in progress. It's just like a minute and it's kind of mayhem and no one you don't see anybody getting bear sprayed. I almost said pepper spray. Thankfully, no,

Sal Rodriguez:

I wouldn't want to see that. Some poor security guard just standing there earning 15 bucks an hour maybe losing his vision. That's unfortunate that yeah, that's not that's not right. That

Jason Connell:

is a crime. That's

Sal Rodriguez:

another crime. That's not right. You You should be held accountable for that.

Jason Connell:

So let's cue this up real quick. Here. Go.

Sal Rodriguez:

Aside from the ruckus of the actual crime taking place, it's very quiet in there. To reference if it were a movie, you'd hear like, hey, stop, hey, get that guy, you'd hear the voiceover saying something.

Jason Connell:

Well, this was at some point in time, they'd already made their presence, be known, went into action. And someone probably just grabbed a quick one minute of this thing that probably went on several more minutes. And yeah, I've seen some where they're yelling at the people and the staff doesn't know if they should intervene or not. But listen, this staff members aren't paid enough to try to stop this,

Sal Rodriguez:

right? Not Jason, you worked retail for time? Didn't you know, but I've been around a lot, okay. They say every retailer is going to tell their employees you are not to attempt to, you know, a cost these people physically prevent you don't just let him go. They tell him just to let him go. Yeah,

Jason Connell:

that's what the security guards are for. But even they're going to be overwhelmed by this. It's like it's no weenie, you don't know, who's got what on them. And all this stuff isn't yours. You're not guarded with your life. This isn't your own little personal store. So you just step aside, but you know, people get confused or if they're in there knocking over like customers, or staff members, and it becomes a safety issue. You might have more people crossing lines. But thank goodness that didn't happen. They were there with a specific goal or at four o'clock. And they executed on that for sure. Yeah. Now in response to this incident, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass expressed strong disapproval, I would hope and emphasize the need for accountability. She said the following.

Sal Rodriguez:

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. By the way, she is a new mayor, only in office now a few months superseding Garcetti, I think it was

Jason Connell:

Yeah, got it set in. Yeah. So well said. And it's true. And this is a problem. So now, as if this wasn't enough, oh, the following day, an incident unfolded at the Nike community store on Whittier Boulevard in Los Angeles. Now, this was not 30 people. No, it was a mere three people. Two women, one man, they entered the store shortly after 5:30pm and embarked on a brazen spree, and in which they stole shoes, bags and other various items valued at around $1,000. So so they're underneath their quota from this gang here this flash, Rob?

Sal Rodriguez:

Well, there is,

Jason Connell:

but it's a lot.

Sal Rodriguez:

My understanding is that if you steal up to a certain amount, it's a misdemeanor. I think as long as you still be the case,

Jason Connell:

yeah, I 5000 or something like that, like you just just

Sal Rodriguez:

steal like 4995. And it's a misdemeanor instead of a felony. Yeah, but $1,000 between three people. So what is that, like? Just under 400 bucks of merchandise? Each what's of maybe four pairs of

Jason Connell:

shoes? Each could be $333 each? It's very interesting

Sal Rodriguez:

that it's to women grown men. That's a very interesting combination.

Jason Connell:

Yeah. And so if three or even one went in and tried to pull this shenanigan that's where I could see a staff member or manager or another employee, or sorry, a customer say, I don't know where this escalating to, and they may get involved. Even with three, the minute you have this huge, ridiculous flash situation. No, but yeah, they're probably in and out of, they're very calculated looking over their shoulder. Two women, one man and they're out, but very unique. Not the first time people are hitting Apple stores all the time, because Apple has those tables with a lot of merch that you can come in and play with. Right? And they're going in there and just snapping that off the little security cords, although those items aren't like the high end items, and they're all trackable. Yeah, I

Sal Rodriguez:

was gonna say can you actually use those?

Jason Connell:

We don't know. But I'm sure Apple's like, yeah, go ahead. You know, a, it's like been out there forever and they're not going to sell that display model anymore. And be all their stuffs trackable, and that usually leads them to a bigger score. They're probably I take it I just take it Trojan horse, just take it and it leads them back to the you know, the den where there's a lot more stuff and they go in and confiscate it all. Jason

Sal Rodriguez:

I could only imagine that if you were to actually try to steal iPads and iPhones, the only logical thing I would think you could possibly do is to take them out of the country. And maybe you can use them out of the country but not in the States. I don't think so.

Jason Connell:

I'm not sure I'm not going to test that. So I'm not going to test it. So as if that wasn't enough, there's another thing that's too wasn't enough because we forgot to stop stop No. Both of these incidents on August 12 and August 13. Were in the wake of another crime, which happened on August 8 2023. At the Yves St. Laurent store. And actually I have some cologne of YSL in my bathroom but not from a shopping heist fits at the Americana at Brand shopping center in Glendale, California. Been there sell very aware of this place, too. I lived in Glendale before the Americana was built. And when I was living in the area, the Americana was born. And it's beautiful. It's just like the grove same owners, same kind of vibe outdoor fountains and just beautiful stores. And I know that area, it's so nice and they hit this place. And Glendale is tough man. Let me tell you Glendale is not Los Angeles, as far as police know, they have their own force. And they're very particular. And they run that say just a little tighter. I would say La sprawling. Glendale is like, Yeah, well, I mean, I never would get pulled over right. And I used to go to a gym, they're just off brand before Americana. 24 Hour Fitness. And before I had an SUV now I've only had SUVs since then, but I had a pretty good tip job. I bought the car from Oklahoma. cop pulled me over in Glendale. And just because he wanted to check the tent and said, You know what, it's a little too dark. I'll let you go as a psych What the heck? Yeah, made sure no funny business was going on. And tinted cars. Like I'm just going to the gym. So they run a tight ship over there. And I'm sure they're not happy about this. But please chime in. Before I tell you about this particular crime. It's a quick little tidbit. But

Sal Rodriguez:

well, Jason, because we're at this point in space and time. Let me just give a little bit of background since you mentioned Glendale, Glendale and neighboring cities, Burbank, Burbank, Pasadena are in LA County but are not part of Los Angeles City. They're their own cities. Indeed. Burbank, its own city, Glendale, its own city, Pasadena, its own city. And then there are other places like that within the county that are separate from the city of Los Angeles. They didn't want to be a part of the city of Los Angeles. And speaking of the Americana the Americana was built by Caruso, I forgot to say yeah, yeah. So Caruso built the Americana and the grove. He is a commercial developer. And he recently ran for mayor and was defeated by our own Karen Bass who we referenced.

Jason Connell:

Yeah. And then I think he's building or at least when I was still there two years ago, two plus years ago now. I think he's gonna do another mall somewhere. That's what I was heard. Like, out in the Palisades. That was his talk, and I could see another one like this. They are

Sal Rodriguez:

nice. I gotta admit, I mean, I'm very nice. You know me. I'm like Mr. anti-corporate, but when you get there it is. It is pretty cool. They got nice fountains and everything. It's a nice place.

Jason Connell:

Now according to Glendale police department, shout out. They're tough. They're on a tight ship over there. It was also a flash Rob up with about bear with me here. 30 individuals, thieves, and they got away with around$300,000 sound. Does that sound familiar?

Sal Rodriguez:

Yeah, yeah. Yeah. You know, you could do the face matching technology now, can't you? Yeah, you can match up see the same faces in the same or mask though. Ah, you know what you can tell you can tell by the way they walk. There's apparently as they say, everybody, like everybody has a distinct voice. Everybody has a distinct walk. And you can actually identify people buy their individual walk. They're doing it in China. And

Jason Connell:

you go, Well, this is August 8. The other one was on August 12. So of course, I mean, four days later, why wouldn't that same crew that did it here so effectively? Go Crosstown? Sure. Into Canoga Park and do it again. Yeah,

Sal Rodriguez:

we did a play a year and a half ago, we had a play. Everything went great. The play went great. Hey, let's do a couple more performances. How about that? Yeah,

Jason Connell:

but those blue. Those

Sal Rodriguez:

are terrible. We got arrested. That's

Jason Connell:

terrible. Well, there you go. I mean, this is a new trend. And good or bad. No, it's terrible. It's bad. I don't want to be around one. So if you find yourself at Target and one breaks out, this may be your chance to hit the toy. I'm just just looking out here. Now this is really not a good thing. It's just going to have a negative impact on the cost of goods. It's never good. This is not going to come out good. And eventually it's going to escalate where a store is ready for it. Not just take whatever and they're gonna lock them in there. There's gonna be a counter to this. You know, if they feel a flash mob coming flash, Rob coming, they just Close all the gates. I mean, you could do something. Well, there'll be there'll be fight back somehow.

Sal Rodriguez:

But Jason, there's something that we're not we haven't talked about on this episode or on other episodes of that's a crime. And that is the whole idea of an inside job. You know, someone on the inside, tipping you off, when security is going to be there when they're not going to be there when they know cops are there when they know cops are not sure when that one manager is there when the manager is not there. The perfect time to strike, unfortunately, and incidences like these after they occur, you have to go back into your own crew, poke around and see that maybe somebody on your team knew one of these suspects that committed the flash Rob,

Jason Connell:

we did give those 30 people the day off.

Sal Rodriguez:

They're all employees. That would be funny. What a way to go on strike. Yeah.

Jason Connell:

Well, that's all I got anything else to add before we say goodbye. And we also have something special after we do this episode. So

Sal Rodriguez:

I do hope everybody's caught. I would imagine these are a bunch of young juvenile delinquents. I'm imagining young people, it's always young people, Jason, it's not like 5060 year olds doing this sort of thing. Always young people, I hope that they are apprehended and I hope that the security guard that was hit with the bear spray is okay. Yeah, they have no vision problems, that everything's fine. And they're able to be a security guard yet another day or honestly, probably quit. I mean, because look, you're risking your safety for for this stuff that's probably ultimately insured. Let's face it. So yeah, be careful out there.

Jason Connell:

Well, like you said, how they could spy people from the way they walk. It didn't look like 70 year olds were doing this like no Kuhn style, unless it was cocoon. And after they got the effects of swimming with the alien pods, and then they were like kids again. But still, no, it was probably a younger group. And listen, this is gonna make them even more daring. Yeah, even if this wasn't the same crew, and it probably is, or at least some people are the same. Why not keep pushing the envelope. So this is, you know, four days later, give it some time hit something else, but we shall see. So this isn't the last of these. No,

Sal Rodriguez:

I think we'll be seen these youngsters are sure

Jason Connell:

we were sure. And that covers a true crime story of the 30 Masked thieves steal$300,000 of merchandise from Nordstrom store in 2023. This is now an exciting new feature to that's a crime. We've done it the last so many episodes. And we go back in the library of that's a crime and we spotlight an old episode because it's easy to say, you know, check out our other episodes, blah, blah, blah. But now we're spotlighting and that gives you some homework or at least something to go like, Oh, yeah, I will go listen to that. So Sal, please do the honors this episode of the spotlight that you have chosen. Yes,

Sal Rodriguez:

Jason, this was my choice. One of my personal favorites. Episode Five. Movie theater manager cells blow from 2020. Jason, I've always loved the title alone. title alone I love I

Jason Connell:

went back and forth with cocaine or blow. And blow is just funnier. And in essence, more of a funny crime. Yeah, I remember this one. Well, this was one of the first ones we were transitioning to this style of telling something newer because when that's a crime started, it was like, Yeah, historic crime, historic crime. It's like, well, there's also a lot of crimes happening. And they're eye catching, much like this title. And they're interesting. So we became more timeline and we work in classic crimes. But this one I remember it vividly because I also worked at a movie theater. For a long time. I didn't sell below. That didn't happen. But the fact that this manager was selling blow, which doesn't say in the title, and I also thought about putting that in there, but it's in the story in the popcorn bags. Like you would come in and be like, Yeah, I'll take extra salt and I'm like, wait, and then judge and then it was undercover cop and this thing you know, things escalated from there, but please go check it out. Episode Five movie theater manager sales below from 2020 a real classic style. A real classic indeed. We recorded this on May 14 2021. Sound Time flies when you're having fun creating that's a crime episode. Jason

Sal Rodriguez:

that was I'm realizing that was like height of COVID shutdowns, height

Jason Connell:

of COVID. Shut that didn't shut us down, buddy.

Sal Rodriguez:

No, no. Absolutely not. No, you. You remember, you're like, we got a podcast. You're like, what are you doing? I'm quarantining. What do you mean? What am I doing? Like come on, man. We gotta get the band back together.

Jason Connell:

Well, that covers it all sounds great job and any last thoughts before we sign off?

Sal Rodriguez:

Well, yeah, now that we're talking about movie theater manager sales blow Jason Mark my words. I bet you they're gonna make that into a motion picture. Probably something like some sort of James Franco type of or what's the like Seth Rogen

Jason Connell:

movie or the next Seth Rogen as they mature? and do different work. But yeah, I wouldn't be shocked if this was a five picture deal or a hit Netflix series at some point in time. I'll be ready. So thank you so much for listening and please be sure to subscribe to the that's a crime podcast and the that's a crime YouTube Live Channel. You can also really help us by giving the show a five star rating on Apple podcast

Sal Rodriguez:

and for all your listeners that enjoy sharing your thoughts. You can leave us a review on Apple podcasts, send us a direct message or post a comment on any that's a crime social media platform.

Jason Connell:

We also highly recommend checking out our other podcast and visiting just curious media.com

Podcasts we love