No Arrests in $1,000 Grand Theft at East LA Nike Store

Just weeks after Los Angeles law enforcement broke up a crime ring targeting Nike’s East L.A. community store, the same retail location was hit in a brazen new incident.

Video obtained by KTLA shows what appears to be at least two suspects grabbing clothing and shoe boxes and walking out of the Whittier Blvd. store without paying. Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department officials are looking for a male and a female suspect who stole $1,000 worth of goods in an incident they’re labeling a grand theft, a spokesperson confirmed to Sourcing Journal.

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Nike is a popular target for criminals hoping to score high-heat sneakers they can quickly flip for an easy profit on platforms such as eBay and Amazon. After thieves stole $800,000 worth of products from a Nike distribution center in Memphis last year, StockX decided to temporarily stop selling certain footwear styles, including then-unreleased ones, that the online sneaker and streetwear resale platform believed could be related to the Tennessee theft.

Nike sneakers and clothing are a hot commodity virtually everywhere in America, especially in Memphis, though California has seen its fair share of crimes against the Swoosh. The Los Angeles Police Department in June recovered $7 million worth of stolen Nike sneakers stored in a warehouse after detectives were tipped off about cargo containers pilfered from trucks near the Port of Los Angeles.

The Nike theft comes as the greater Los Angeles area is still reeling from Saturday’s flash-mob spree that police said robbed Nordstrom of $300,000 after they originally estimated the loss at $60,000-$100,000. At least 30 suspects—including one who bear-sprayed a security guard—stormed the department store at the Westfield Topanga Shopping Center and stole clothing, designer bags and other “easily re-sellable” merchandise from first-floor displays near the entrance.

Retail executives haven’t shied away from talking about shrink, the term that covers losses including theft and shoplifting, during Wall Street earnings calls. Target CEO Brian Cornell described shrink as a $500 million problem this year while leaders at off-price retailer Ross Stores said shrink was a “little bit higher” in 2022.

Governments, retailers and law enforcement are searching for answers to a problem estimated at $95 billion last year. A California bill that passed the state senate in May acknowledges the increasing violence seen during shoplifting events. New York City officials recently trotted out a new plan they hope will curb store crime while last summer the Washington state attorney general assembled the Organized Retail Crime Theft Task Force to address the rise in gangs targeting retail stores.

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