Authorities in Riverside are investigating a series of grab and go robberies where thieves have reportedly stolen thousands of dollars worth of merchandise from local stores.
One witness took cell phone video of a group of grab and go robbers running out of the Nordstrom Rack at Riverside Plaza.
The robbery happened on October 11 and police say surveillance video from moments earlier shows the thieves using scissors to cut through security cables, before stealing handbags worth $3,000 dollars.
“You had the employees trying to stop them, physically stop them, which now that’s where it goes from a theft to a robbery,” Officer Ryan Railsback said.
Railsback says that’s because the suspects had scissors, so the crime escalated from felony grand theft, to felony robbery and that automatically elevates the amount of jail time.
“They’re using force or fear, with some type of weapon,” Railsback said.
Riverside police is dealing with a series of similar crimes, including one involving a man and woman at a Riverside Smart and Final on October 1.
The two are seen forcing their way out the front doors, with shopping carts filled with diapers and detergent.
Even a Good Samaritan tries to intervene but the thieves still manage to get away.
“Speechless sometimes I want to say, because to see that people are going to do this load up shopping carts, two shopping carts in the middle of day,” Railsback said. “And just walk out like you are entitled to this and the employees are doing their job to prevent you and you are going to just force your way, possibly even get them injured…What type of person does this?”
Railsback says a similar theft happened at another smart and final in Riverside, but it’s still unclear if the same suspects are involved in both.
He is hoping someone will recognize the thieves from the surveillance videos and he also has a strong warning for them.
“Out here in Riverside County we are going to prosecute you. We’ve got a district attorney’s office that is going to go after you,” Railsback.
“They’re going to give you harsh consequences in hopes you won’t consider doing this again.
Railsback says if you witness a grab and go theft don’t intervene just try to shoot video and get a license plate if it is safe to do so.
Source: NBC Los Angeles