Smash and Grab Looting May Spread – How to Stay Safe

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Written by Bernie Carr

Another quick post today as I share news and information of interest. I am sure you have heard about the smash and grab robberies happening across the country. These robberies have been happening in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Chicago and other metropolitan areas.

Crime rings are paying big bucks

According to The Daily Mail, groups of smash and grab thieves are being paid by organized crime syndicates to rob thousands of dollar worth of merchandise.

Ben Dugan, president of the Coalition of Law Enforcement and Retail, said sophisticated criminal networks recruit mainly young people, offering them $500 to $1,000 to steal specific merchandise from stores and then sell it online.

The frequency and scale of the ‘smash-and-grab’ operations are ratcheting up as the holiday shopping season is getting into full swing. 

‘We´re not talking about someone who needs money or needs food. These are people who go out and do this is for high profit, and for the thrill,’ Dugan said.


What to do if you’re in a store that’s being robbed

Don’t be so focused on your shopping, your list, or your phone that you don’t look up until it’s too late. As we always say, be vigilant and stay aware of your surroundings wherever you are.

If you’re shopping with your children, don’t let them wander off to other aisles – you never know when smash and grab thieves will show up and you wouldn’t want your kids running around in the middle of the looting.

Know where all the exits are located. Mentally map out your escape route if anything happens.

Get yourself as far away from the scene as possible. Hide if you have to, but if you can, get out of the store. Again, this entails you knowing what’s happening and having an idea what’s available around you.

Don’t get near the criminals or get in their way. These people are dangerous. One security guard was murdered a few weeks ago.

Smash-and-grab looters targeted stores across the country ahead of Thanksgiving and over Black Friday weekend, robbing stores of thousands of dollars in merchandise and even leaving one California security guard dead as he tried to protect a news crew that was reporting on the crimes. 

“We tried to stop them,” Home Depot employee Luis Romo told FOX 11 of a “flash mob” targeting the store in Lakewood, California, on Black Friday. “We closed the front entrance and they put their sledgehammers up and whoever got in the way, they were going to hurt them.”

Source: Fox News

As a very last resort, consider improvised weapons to defend yourself IF you get attacked. Look around for possible items you can grab to protect yourself if it comes to that. But don’t step in front of the thieves trying to be a hero if no one is threatening you. Stay away from them as much as possible.

The trend may spread

You might say, it can never happen to me. Hopefully, it won’t. But I can tell you it is spreading to other cities.

My brother was shopping at a Kohl’s last weekend and the alarms started going off. A lady next to him remarked, “You know the store is being robbed right now.” Luckily for them, they were at the far end of the store from the entrance, and all they saw were black hooded thieves from a distance, running out with the loot. On the way out, he saw the perfume cases that the thieves had broken into. I was very shocked when he told me about this.

According to The Daily Wire, a former police commissioner from Philadelphia, Charles Ramsey, said this epidemic of smash and grab robberies may spread across the country.

These mobs get the word out via social media, that a certain store is going to be targeted, then a bunch of them show up, say 20 of them, all prepared to loot. They come with crow bars, hammers and other tools to break and vandalize. Even a Home Depot got robbed this way, likely to steal the tools to use for smash and grab robberies.

Retailers are losing money and are alarmed by this trend. This past week, a group of 20 retail executives, including the CEOs of CVS, Nordstrom, Meijer, Kroger and Target, wrote a letter to Congressional leaders expressing concern over a recent wave of “smash-and-grab” store robberies, according to Fox News. Stores are beefing up security with new measures.

Many shoppers already away from brick and mortar stores and shop online instead. But if you like to do your shopping in person, be alert and stay safe!

If you found this article interesting or helpful, please consider helping us out (without costing you anything)! We are an affiliate of, which means we received a small commission if you click through one of our Amazon links when you shop, at totally no cost to you. This helps keep the lights on at the blog. Thanks!

Bernie Carr is the founder of Apartment Prepper. She has written several books including the best-selling Prepper’s Pocket Guide, Jake and Miller’s Big Adventure, The Penny-Pinching Prepper and How to Prepare for Most Emergencies on a $50 a Month Budget. Bernie’s latest e-book, FRUGAL DIY has just been released on Amazon. Her work appears in sites such as the Allstate Blog and, as well as print magazines such as Backwoods Survival Guide and Prepper Survival Guide. She has been featured in national publications such as Fox Business and Popular Mechanics. Learn more about Bernie here.

Image by Marcela Bolívar from Pixabay

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  1. Lawlessness in more minor forms (people panhandling aggressively outside stores, camping on sidewalks, parks, and other public areas, shoplifting by individuals, drunks/drugged people acting out in public, kids spray painting on buildings) was tolerated for so long in my area it’s no wonder things escalated. When the police are told to “just concentrate on major crimes” this is what happens.

    The resulting element of danger when taking kids out in public is going to kill many more brick and mortar stores. In our local shopping mall, once a hangout for teens who window shopped, watched movies and ate at the food court every weekend, there was a shooting between gang members right in the middle of the food court where many people were sitting and unable to get up and away quickly. It’s a mercy more people didn’t get hurt. The other large outdoor mall in our area has a transit center so notorious for gang violence it routinely has three or four officers stationed there.

    Going to the mall, which supported a lot of the small businesses and retail shops there, is no longer something parents feel comfortable letting their kids do. I sure won’t be walking up and down shopping knowing there’s not only a potential but a likelihood for a gang to do a smash and grab or start shooting it out with a rival. There is nothing fun or relaxing about it. You have to rush in, grab exactly what you came for in the shortest possible time, and get back to your transportation where hopefully nothing is going on either. When you have to train your family with a code word for getting down behind something and going for an exit, casual shopping isn’t in the picture.

    Until we address the root problem of holding everyone accountable from an early age for their public behavior and experiencing real consequences for “minor” offenses, this will keep escalating until we can only shop online and spend the rest of the time installing security bars and bulletproof landscaping in our homes.

    There are many good people out there, but it only takes one bad one allowed to bully, steal and terrorize people in small ways to grow a real criminal who thinks nothing of harming others. Stop tolerating small offenses and fewer people will escalate to the horrific ones.

    1. Hi Mme. Homebody, That is a shame small businesses are suffering as a result of the policy of tolerating offenses. Now it has escalated to a shooting and no one feels safe taking their families shopping. This seems to be happening in many areas. It really does start small but gets worse. Thanks for sharing.

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