Nine people have been charged by the Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office in connection with the May 31 rampage in downtown Walnut Creek in which 39 businesses were victims of looting and related property damages, police said Tuesday.
Walnut Creek police are looking for more suspects, and have released photos and a video showing others involved in the looting that took place six days after the May 25 killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis by police while being arrested for allegedly trying to pass a counterfeit bill. That death set off protests and unrest around the nation.
Dozens of people -- what police Lt. Andy Brown called "an organized group of criminals" -- converged on downtown Walnut Creek, including the Broadway Plaza shopping center, before 5 p.m. on May 31 and proceeded to break into and damage the downtown businesses. A young woman was shot in the arm during that melee along Locust Street downtown, and police responded by enacting a curfew a short time later. Downtown businesses suffered between $3 million and $4 million in property damages and stolen merchandise during the mass looting, Brown said.
Walnut Creek police investigators eventually identified nine adult suspects, eight of them women. Detectives then obtained and executed several search and arrest warrants for these suspects, Brown said.
The looting case was presented to the Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office on Nov. 23, Brown said, and the DA subsequently filed felony charges of "burglary during a state of emergency" against seven suspects who allegedly looted the large Macy's store in downtown Walnut Creek, and an eighth who looted a Victoria's Secret store.
In addition, Brown said, the Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office filed a misdemeanor charge of burglary during a state of emergency against one suspect who allegedly looted a Site for Sore Eyes location.
The "state of emergency," Brown said, was related to the March 4 emergency declaration by Gov. Gavin Newsom resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Facing charges from the Contra Costa DA's Office are Yanai Tadesse, 20, of Oakland; Lashanda Breedlove, 38, of Oakland; Alayshia Cheatham, 21, of Elk Grove; Msshaniequa George, 30, of Lemoore; Labria Ardoin, 26, of Antioch; Jaqueline Currington, 29, from Richmond; and Kaytiana Pennington, 20, Aljonique Mitchell, 26, and Kiannis Woods, 19, all from San Leandro.
Walnut Creek police are asking for the public's help as they look for more of the suspected looters. A number of surveillance photos depicting various suspects can be seen here , or here via Dropbox. Security video of the looting can be seen here.
Anyone with information that could help identify other suspects is urged to contact the Walnut Creek Police Department at CrimeTip@walnutcreekpd.com. Responders can either leave contact information or remain anonymous.