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The city of Walnut Creek, California, will spend $2 million over the next 18 months to beef up security after a mob broke into a Nordstrom and stole merchandise from the store.
The Walnut Creek City Council voted unanimously at a special meeting on Wednesday to spend half of its remaining unallocated funds from the American Rescue Plan to improve police presence in the city. The money will be used to buy security cameras in the city’s downtown area, a tethered drone to fly over the Broadway Plaza, where the robbery took place, and to put five new officers on a downtown beat, NBC Bay Area reported.
The five officers will cost around $1.6 million through June 2023, additional security cameras will cost around $215,000, and the drone will cost another $35,000. The City Council also allocated $130,000 in immediate overtime pay for additional officers three days a week, the outlet added, noting that recruiting and hiring new officers can take up to 18 months. The city’s police force currently sits at a staff of 75 officers out of its authorized 80.
“I wish we could spend these funds elsewhere; I really do … but this is the fire we need to put out,” said Walnut Creek Mayor Kevin Wilk, via NBC Bay Area. “We need to ensure that we keep the community safe and that we provide the greatest deterrence possible from the city of Walnut Creek, to our Police Department and other measures. We need to do everything in our power to ensure that this is the case.”
The Council’s decision came in response to the robbery of a Nordstrom store in the city in November, which was another incident in a series of “smash-and-grab” thefts that have sprung up in California and across the country. The Daily Wire reported:
Dozens of looters raced in and out of a Walnut Creek, California, Nordstrom store Saturday night, stealing an unknown amount of merchandise.
NBC News reported that, according to a police spokesperson, about “80 people rushed into the store in the city’s Broadway Plaza.” One employee was pepper-sprayed and two others were punched and kicked in the mayhem, with all three sustaining minor injuries. They were all treated and released at the scene, the spokesperson told NBC.
The store was open when the looting happened, with the crime occurring in under a minute.
NBC Bay Area noted that the robbery cost $87,000 in lost merchandise and another $38,000 in damages.
The recent rash of “organized retail theft” has spread across California, and is currently spreading to cities around the country. Last week, a group of thieves, aged 14 to 18, in California stole $20,000 in merchandise from an Apple store about 50 miles away from the city of San Francisco. Two weeks ago, mobs robbed three separate stores in three days in the San Francisco area. A Home Depot in Lakewood was also looted over the Black Friday shopping holiday, with a group of between 8 and 20 teenagers entering the store, donning ski masks, and stealing hammers and crowbars. The thefts have since spread across the country. An Ulta Beauty store outside of Philadelphia was the latest to be victimized when a mob broke into the store and took some $20,000 worth of cosmetics before fleeing in less than a minute.