APB generally avoids shoplifting reports, but this week we’ve seen a couple of doozies.
Barber Shop Arrest
Wednesday, June 27 at 12:45 p.m. – Club Monaco store at 1225 Third Street Promenade – Two men entered the store carrying several shopping bags. [Known as “booster bags” in the trade, they appear to be filled with purchases from other merchants, but they are not.] After stealing goods and placing them in the bags, the fellows moved on to pull the same routine at the nearby Armani Exchange. But as they were leaving that establishment, they encountered an off-duty security guard who knew them from previous exploits at a Victoria’s Secret store in Torrance. The security guard also knew that the men were arrested in that incident, that they failed to appear in court and that there are felony warrants out for them as a result. And they recognized him as well. He called the police on his cell phone and gave chase through the Promenade parking structures and eventually loses sight of them. But they dropped the booster bags with goods stolen from both stores.
SMPD officers responding to the call were walking down 4th Street and saw one of the Suspects in a barber shop, just “finishing” having his hair cut. [Turns out, the fellow had rushed into the shop and told the barber to quickly buzz off his hair.] The suspect was identified by the officers from his description and clothing and then by the off-duty security guard who actually had a photo of the fellow on his cell phone from the Victoria’s Secret affair. The man in the barbershop was arrested for commercial burglary and on the outstanding warrants. His accomplice was not apprehended.
Tuesday, June 26 at 11:45 a.m. – EB Game Stop at 1910 Lincoln Boulevard – A man walked into the store and took 12 video games from a display rack; he also went behind the counter and took some more. When the employee returned from the back room (where he had been), he tried to stop the man from leaving, but the Suspect threatened him with violence, and so the employee backed away; the Suspect fled. An hour or so later, the Suspect and an accomplice went into another Game Stop store – this one in Santa Monica Place but owned by the same company – and attempted to return all the stolen items for a cash refund, claiming that they hadn’t liked the games when they played them. Noticing that the packaging had never been opened, employees called police. Only then did the Santa Monica Place store call the Lincoln store and put 12 and 12 together. Responding officers arrested the two men for burglary and robbery. Oh, and the theft at the Lincoln video game store was captured on…video.