Mass robberies hit several Bay Area cities

Brazen thieves storm stores in Walnut Creek, Pleasanton


Broadway Plaza in Walnut Creek and many other Bay Area shopping areas have been hit recently large groups of robbers storming stores and stealing goods.

Spanish teacher Nicole Resendiz was driving in Walnut Creek on Nov. 20 to pick up her daughter when she saw a row of cars with no license plates parked directly in front of Nordstrom in Broadway Plaza.

She later found out that what she was actually witnessing was a mass robbery that made national headlines.

That night, more than 90 armed thieves stormed the Nordstrom and stole more than $100,000 in merchandise. The robbers had parked their cars directly in front of the store to block the entrance for first responders, Contra Costa County prosecutors told NBC.

Three people have been arrested for this crime, but more than 80 people involved in the alarming organized crime have not. And they’re not the only ones.

“At the time I thought the area was blocked off for some celebrity or something,” Resendiz said. “I couldn’t believe it when I saw it on the news the next day. I couldn’t believe I let my 14-year old go shopping there alone.”

As of Tuesday, Nordstrom did not respond to emails from The Californian requesting comments about the incident.

This is one of many similar massrobberies in the San Francisco Bay Area within the past few months.

San Francisco Union Square’s Louis Vuitton faced a similar style of robbery on Nov. 19, just the day before the Walnut Creek case, according to CBS. The store was stormed and robbed, with more than 10 people seen fleeing with stolen items. More than six suspects have been identified already. Some were caught directly at the scene, but there are still participants who escaped.

San Francisco, however, experienced a 5.1 percent decline in the number of robberies over the past year, with 2,137 robberies occurring from Jan. 1 to Dec. 12 of this year, a reduction from 2,253 robberies during the same period in 2020, according to a San Francisco Police Department crime dashboard.

Junior Alexis Bebenita is a Target employee and isn’t concerned about the robberies.

“We don’t really live in a big city with a lot of big stores around one little area,” Bebenita said, “so big planned robberies are probably not that likely to happen.”

Senior Lulu Khalil, an employee at Lafayette’s Learning Express, feels the same.

“I’m not personally afraid because I work at a small business and those are less likely to get targeted,” said Khalil. “I don’t think something of the sort would really happen in San Ramon.” 

Pleasanton’s Stoneridge mall has had a few run-ins with robberies, one being the arrest of an armed robber at Macy’s, according to KTVU. The robbers in question had committed a series of thefts across the Bay Area, including one in San Mateo County. After making their way to Stoneridge, one of the suspects was finally caught in possession of a pistol and many stolen goods, KTVU reported.

Junior Ammar Wahab believes the robberies to be, in some part, related to the job losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“People have to resort to theft, which is sad,” Wahab said.