3 Charged in $300,000 High-End Smash-And-Grab Thefts


The men, part of an organized ring, sold stolen items on Instagram Stories, said Attorney General Rob Bonta, who has made retail theft a priority.

Three men have been charged for allegedly participating in an organized robbery scheme where they stole over $300,000 worth of designer goods from high-end stores throughout California in smash-and-grab thefts, state Attorney General Rob Bonta said in a press conference on March 19.

The men allegedly carried out the thefts by running into the stores, grabbing expensive items and then running out, Mr. Bonta said.

The items were “ripped” from the displays even when they were secured with locks and they were then sold on Instagram Stories, according to Mr. Bonta. He said the suspects sometimes used force against the employees of the stores to commit the robberies.

The LAPD’s Organized Retail Crime Task Force was the agency in charge of the investigation.

The suspects carried out the thefts from December 2022 through last month in Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, Riverside, Alameda, and Santa Clara counties.

Some stores robbed were Burberry, Prada, Sunglass Hut, Bottega Veneta, Maison Margiela, Louis Vuitton, Michael Kors, Gucci, Coach, and Versace, according to Mr. Bonta, at a loss of $309,752.

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The California Department of Justice filed 27 felony charges, including organized retail theft, robbery and grand theft, against Isaiah Abdullah, 26, Ishmael Baptist, 25, and Nickolas Mallory, 26. Los Angeles Police Chief of Detectives Alan Hamilton said all three are residents of Los Angeles.

The criminal complaint recommended a $1 million bail for each.

Police also found five firearms, with one resulting in charges in another case, according to Mr. Bonta.

The complaint also indicated the crimes were carried out with “planning, sophistication, or professionalism,” and that two of the suspects, Mr. Abdullah and Mr. Mallory, had served a prior term in prison and had “engaged in violent conduct that indicates a serious danger to society.”

Mr. Abdullah was found guilty in 2018 of second-degree robbery, three grand theft charges, and evading a police officer, according to Orange County court records. Mr. Mallory’s charges could not be confirmed.

A 2020 national survey showed that U.S. retailers lose around $700,000 to organized retail crime for every $1 billion of sales.

“Organized retail theft harms businesses, retailers, and consumers – and puts the public at risk,” Mr. Bonta said. “Organized retail crime has been plaguing our state for far too long.”

Chief Hamilton, who was also present at the news conference, said that the value of the stolen items could be higher than the initial $300,000—and possibly up to $900,000—and that additional charges might be filed as the investigation continues.

“As we looked at the Los Angeles region, we were around a half million dollars. The filed amount, the $300,000 plus is what we are conclusively able to file on these specific suspects at this time,” he said.

Mr. Bonta has made organized retail theft crimes a main priority for the state and requested anyone who wishes to file complaints or submit tips to visit oag.ca.gov/bi/retail-crime.


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