Bear spray used in crush and seizure theft in California


Los Angeles Police said Monday that among the tools used in the holiday season’s smash-and-grab crime frenzy was bear spray, a chemical irritant similar to pepper spray but more potent.

The department said in a statement that someone who was among a group of suspects at a Nordstrom in the San Fernando Valley on November 24 used bear spray on a security guard.

The LAPD released a security video of the guard being sprayed.

The incident was part of a spate of theft and flash mobs in November that police said resulted in losses of around $ 330,000 for a dozen retailers.

By comparison, the department’s late Art Theft Detail had recouped nearly $ 4.4 million each year in stolen items since 1993, according to department figures.

Last week, the department announced 14 frenzy-related arrests at a press conference featuring Chief Michel Moore and LA Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Moore slammed the California criminal justice system for allowing suspects to free themselves while awaiting court appearance. The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office has said “zero bail” for many non-violent crime allegations is the result of the California Judicial Council’s bail schedule.

The office had not yet billed any of the 14.

Moore told NBC Los Angeles on Sunday that he spoke to District Attorney George Gascón and was assured “the full weight of prosecution against each of these individuals” was imminent.

Moore said the insanity was part of a larger increase in crime. Los Angeles Police Commission Chairman William Briggs last month pleaded for a 12% increase in police spending, saying the extra money was needed to stop thefts at the display.

LAPD’s own data shows that reports of thefts (down more than 13%) and burglaries (7%) were down at the end of November compared to the same period in 2019.

The total number of arrests fell 27%, but reports of violent crime rose 3.9%, according to police figures.

The chief described at least four of the November incidents as robberies and said the wave of crushing and seizures had been “violent and dangerous”, but none of the arrests were for theft and none. did not allege violence.

Six of the suspects were arrested on allegations of robbery, six for suspected burglary, one for allegedly receiving stolen property and one for driving without a license, according to the LAPD.

One of the burglary suspects was a minor, he said.

No one from the bear spraying incident had been arrested, the department said.

Los Angeles County Public Defender’s law firms did not immediately respond to a request for comment on behalf of those arrested.


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