(NewsNation) — An investigation into a flash mob of thieves that struck stores in Southern California has resulted in the arrest of 11 suspects.
A new organized retail crime task force was set up in response to the thefts, which included a group of up to 50 people seen looting a Nordstrom store Aug. 12. Authorities have not said if the 11 people in custody were part of that group.
The thieves ran out of the store with more than $100,000 in luxury goods. That was all from just one store, while retail mobs have targeted at least eight other luxury stores in recent weeks.
The new task force involves roughly a dozen agencies, including the California Highway Patrol, which announced additional arrests in Northern California.
Two suspects in their 30s have been linked to selling more than $85,000 in goods at flea markets in the Bay Area and Sacramento.
According to the CHP, the items were stolen from a Victoria’s Secret, Lululemon, Sephora, Ulta and other retailers.
“We were able to go do some reconnaissance – find out that it was in fact stolen merchandise that was being sold,” said Andrew Barclary with the CHP. “We were able to verify that these items had not gone through a point-of-sale, and therefore, were definitely stolen.”
Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass announced the formation of the task force just last week in an effort to track down and break up organized retail crime rings.
Cyber investigators are also going after those who buy stolen goods online.
However, critics claim the crackdown doesn’t address the underlying issues driving retail theft. Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer is among those who blame progressive policies for lax prosecution and reduced sentences.