Groups of thieves ransacked at least two dozen San Francisco area businesses over the weekend, as crush and foreclosure incidents rage through the Bay Area .
"At least two dozen businesses have been affected, " Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong told CBS SF . "Vehicle touring caravans, targeting ocannabis shops, retail stores, drugstores, throughout Oakland. "
The crowds of thieves hit a handful of drugstores and marijuana dispensaries in Oakland, including the Wellspring Pharmacy which has Released surveillance video of the scene to media.Police added that crowds in Oakland fired 175 shots during the incidents, forcing officers to retreat to safe places, The Mercury News reported.
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A local ba man from Oakland ttling cancer also tried to visit a Walgreens on Sunday to find it closed after a robbery.
"I 've got cancer " David Massey said. "So I ' m tryingto refill some medication and they tell you to go to another Walgreens. "
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"This is the third time that I know they are broken into " he added. "It hurts us all. Especially the little guy who really needs it. "
The area kicked off the Crime Weekend with a swarm of people descending on a Louis Vuitton in San Francisco, cleaning the store of its top merchandise. That same night, "hundreds " of vehicles targeted marijuana dispensaries in Oakland, Armstrong told The Mercury News .
On Saturday, about 80 people were wearing masks of skiand armed with crowbars stormed a Nordstrom location near Walnut Creek. They then rushed from the store to their vehicles with stolen goods. Three people have so far been arrested in connection with this incident.
San Francisco Police said nearly 12 stores in that city alone were attacked at the same time by a mob of less than 80 people during the weekend.
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The crimes also spread to San Jose, about 80 km from San Francisco, where at least four people stole 40,000 $ to a Lululemon in an incident described by police as "organized theft
"People must be vigilant ", San Jose Police Sgt. Christian Camarillo told The Mercury News. "We are approaching the busy holiday shopping season. We cannot be everywhere at once. We need help from citizens. When they see suspicious activity, please let us know, especially in shopping malls.
Walnut Creek Police Chief Jamie Knox has meanwhile contacted the FBI, the California Highway Patrol and the US Marshals Service regarding possible similar incidents.
"No city can be prepared for a day, without warning 80 people commit an organized robbery in a minute, " Walnut Creek Mayor Kevin Wilk said of the theft of Nordstrom.
The incidents are also worrying local security experts, who say California's laws aimed at reducing the cost of incarceration are the reason there is an increase in such crimes.Shoplifting charges for theft of $ 950 or less were reduced from misdemeanor offenses under Proposition 47 in 2014. Stores also often have No Prosecution of Shoplifters policies .
"I think what is happening now is that there are no more responsibility for that, and responsibility for the stores if they try to apprehend these guys. They just stand there and watch, "Steve Reed, a retired police officer and former security chief at Arden Fair Mall , told ABC 10 this week.