WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (KRON) – Shoppers in Walnut Creek are reacting to the flood of 80 looters who targeted the Nordstrom at Broadway Plaza Saturday night.
On Monday police said the dozens of looters who rushed the store made off with between $100,000 and $200,000 worth of merchandise.
Walnut Creek police said they made three arrests and plan to monitor the shopping area throughout the evening after receiving information that the same group may come back again Sunday night.
Walnut Creek Mayor Kevin Wilk said the city will keep Broadway Plaza free of cars at least through the holidays.
Normally, Nordstrom would still be open but the doors are shut and the store closed early on Sunday after Saturday night’s chaos.
Police are also still monitoring the area, they kept the road in front of the store closed to traffic, as well, but even with all of these precautions.
There was another, unrelated shoplifting incident earlier in the day.
“It was pretty shocking because we made an appointment at the Apple store here thinking it would be a safe place to come since we live in Stockton so we wanted to go to Walnut Creek so we’re like oh maybe not after dark,” visitor Joann Kirby said.
Witness Brett Barrett who also manages a restaurant across the street described the chaotic scene from Saturday night.
“Half the tables were up at the windows looking to see what’s going on. We had to lock the front door. I had to lock the back door. The whole restaurant just kind of stopped for a minute and was just watching because there was a mob of people, police flying in. It was a scene out of a movie,” Barrett said.
Walnut Creek police say it happened around 9 p.m. while the store was open with employees and shoppers inside.
“We started receiving calls that there were tons of cars flooding into Broadway Plaza area. Then we received reports that people in masks and dark clothing were running into Nordstrom. They were clogging the streets with their vehicles. They had crowbars and were running out with property and getting into the vehicles and fleeing the scene,” Lieutenant Holley Connors said.
Police say two employees were assaulted and one was pepper-sprayed but their injuries are minor.
So far, they arrested three people: 30-year-old Dana Dawson of San Francisco, 32-year-old Joshua Underwood of San Francisco and 18-year-old Rodney Robinson of Oakland.
Charges include robbery, burglary, conspiracy, possession of stolen property, illegal possession of a firearm by a felon and carrying a concealed weapon.
Mayor Kevin Wilk says these brazen thefts will not be tolerated.
“Our police department will and have made arrests. We’re going to be working with the DA’s office to have the most serious charges that we can possibly have and we will be encouraging the DA’s office to charge them with the highest crimes possibly. Ideally, they’ll be spending a long time behind bars,” Mayor Wilk said.
On Sunday, police stepped up patrols in this area and put up barriers to cut off car access on Broadway Plaza, where one of the entrances to the store is located.
Despite the increased police presence, a witness says other thieves were back at it on Sunday.
“As I was walking up to see what happened from last night, I saw a Nordstrom employee notify police that two people had ran out the back with items and I kind of followed. A woman at the corner said she saw it and about 2 or 3 police SUV’s lights and sirens chased after them,” resident Matt Shupe said.
Police confirmed there was an unrelated grab and run incident Sunday afternoon and say they caught an individual involved.
Walnut Creek police say they’ll remain out here throughout the evening after receiving intel and information that the same group of thieves who stormed this area Saturday night are considering doing it all over again.
In an abundance of caution, police alerted the businesses and residents nearby, many of them also closed early.