The Walnut Creek Nordstrom was the target for scores of thieves over the weekend. The high-end department store near San Francisco, Calif. saw a robbery in which the thieves made off with merchandise and assaulted some of the employees.
Police identified the suspects: Dana Dawson, 30, of San Francisco had the firearm. Joshua Underwood, 32, is also of San Francisco and Rodney Robinson, 18, is of Oakland.
The three face charges of robbery, burglary, conspiracy and possession of stolen property, police said. The police said that each faces charges of robbery, burglary, conspiracy, and possession of stolen property. Dawson may face gun charges.
Most of the Walnut Creek Nordstrom thieves got away. Bystanders took videos of the robbery at the department store on their cellphones. The video shows people in masks streaming out of the store with bags and boxes in their arms, jumping into their cars and driving off. Estimates of the number of people involved range from 50 to 80.
Police said that the strike on the Walnut Creek Nordstrom was “clearly a planned event.” Lt. Holley Connors said that the police department has sources that suggest that the same group may strike again, but that the information remains “very vague.”
An NBC Bay Area reporter on the scene of the robbery, Jodi Hernandez, tweeted that she witnessed the thieves arriving in “about 25 cars” that “just blocked the street” at the store, about 20 miles northeast of San Francisco.
One woman who was inside the store buying shoes Saturday evening tweeted what she saw. “Two security started running in the store screaming ‘STOP’, 20 seconds later the large groups of people dressed in all black ran in the store straight to the designer bag section.”
Nordstrom employees called 911 as the attack began.
Two workers were assaulted at the Walnut Creek Nordstrom. A third was pepper-sprayed by the thieves, according to police.
Lt. Connors said there were also reports that some of the thieves were carrying crowbars.
In August, the Walnut Creek city council voted unanimously in favor of increasing the police patrols at this store because of the threat of “grab and run” thefts. Perhaps as a consequence, police are said to have been on the scene Saturday within moments.
There have been similar robberies at other Bay Area retailers. On Sunday, San Francisco Police Department spokesperson Officer Robert Rueca said, “Our investigators will be looking into the Walnut Creek incident” for possible connections to looting at Union Square. This mass theft was the latest in a spate of large-scale robberies to hit the Bay Area, from pharmacies to jewelry stores to cannabis dispensaries, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“This is not normal,” Rueca said about the nature of the thefts. “These are not normal incidents.”
“Walnut Creek police investigators are in the process of reviewing surveillance footage to attempt to identify other suspects responsible for this brazen act,” authorities said Sunday morning in a news release.
Later Sunday, through social media, authorities provided the community with an update, saying that the police are “actively monitoring intelligence that indicates the group of thieves who stole from the Broadway Plaza Nordstrom last night are considering similar activity later today.”
Brett Barrette, one of the managers at the P.F. Chang’s restaurant just across from the Nordstrom store recounted his vivid experience watching the chaos. “I probably saw 50-80 people in like ski masks with crowbars, a bunch of weapons,” he said. “They were looting the Nordstrom.”
“The police were flying in,” Barrette said. “It was like a scene out of a movie. It was insane.”