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Thieves steal more than $40,000 in merchandise from San Jose store in latest Bay Area retail looting

Police said a group of people stole merchandise from a Lululemon store at San Jose’s Santana Row on Sunday night, the latest in a series of brash robberies in the Bay Area.

Around 6:30 p.m., a group of people went into the Lululemon store and stole items in excess of $40,000, said Sgt. Christian Camarillo of the San Jose Police Department in a Monday conference. Authorities said that the group fled before police arrived.

The group included two men and two women, according to Camarillo.

At around the same time, there was a robbery attempt at Westfield Valley Fair and "very alert security personnel" saw a group of cars with their license plates covered, Camarillo said. The security guards alerted police officers at the mall and the vehicles fled, authorities said. Two suspects allegedly stole merchandise from the Sunglass Hut in excess of $7,000.

"We're not going to call this looting, this is organized robbery," Camarillo said, adding that San Jose police is communicating with other agencies in the Bay Area grappling with other robberies over the weekend.

Camarillo said he doesn't know if the group of people at Santana Row is related to the other robbery incidents.

"People need to be alert," Camarillo said. "We're coming into the busy holiday shopping season. We can't be everywhere at the same time. We do need citizens' help, when they see suspicious activity occurring, please let us know, especially at the malls."

This was the first "organized robbery" incident in San Jose, according to Camarillo. "This is the first time they've made it here in San Jose in this type of organized, coordinated robbery. We're going to do everything we can," he said.

The theft comes after a group of people committed a smash-and-grab robbery at a jewelry store on Sunday night at the Southland Mall, according to Hayward police.

Authorities said they responded around 5:25 p.m. to shots fired at the mall. Nine people allegedly went into the mall and used hammers to smash cashes and take valuables from a Sam's Jewelers store, police said. Officers found no evidence of gunfire or injury when they arrived.

Dozens of looters also ransacked a Nordstrom store in Walnut Creek on Saturday night. Authorities said 3 people were arrested out of approximately 80 who were involved in looting the store around 9 a.m.

Walnut Creek city officials and police warned that other businesses could be targeted by the group of thieves on Sunday and police patrols were stepped up in the area. There were no reports of looting in the city on Sunday.

San Francisco police said they also responded to reports of looting in Union Square on Friday night. The Louis Vuitton fashion store on Geary Street was targeted and multiple suspects have been arrested, according to authorities.

San Francisco officials announced a plan to restrict vehicle access to Union Square following the incident.

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