Black Friday

East Bay Malls Heighten Police, Security Presence for Black Friday

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Shoppers were not the only ones going from store to store in the East Bay Friday.

Walnut Creek police and Pleasanton police beefed up their presence at the most popular shopping areas. It’s a way to deter any would-be thieves and it’s a comforting presence for shoppers and retail employees who don’t want to be caught in the middle of a chaotic smash-and-grab scene.

“I think the pandemic is putting a lot of stress on people so the crazier gets crazier,” said college student Briana Theocharides.

She is visiting her parents for the holidays – and saw our viral video of dozens of thieves storming out of the Nordstrom store in Walnut Creek.

“We’re getting robbed. It's horrible,” said Oakland resident Gigi Theocharides. “Don’t know why people need to do it. They need to really come up with some new laws to stop them and discourage them from doing that. Because it hurts everybody.”

Authorities say 90 thieves used three separate entrances and ran off with more than $100,000 dollars of high-end merchandise. 

Three people were charged with felonies for their alleged role in the spree.

“It was unnerving for sure,” said Brent Stringfiel.

Stringfield was helping customers pick out kitchenware at the Sur La Table store next door and locked his staff inside, until the chaos subsided.

“What happened last weekend because it was such a short time frame that it happened, it's not really something you can really anticipate,” he said.

Walnut Creek police say they are looking out for any credible intelligence that tips them off if another roving caravan is heading their way. While police are not encouraging shops to board up, police say if they do receive a tip of another targeted theft, they will leave it up to businesses to decide if they want to close early.

Over in Pleasanton, police say they have a dedicated team of uniformed and undercover officers patrolling busy shopping centers like the Stoneridge Mall.

“I feel safe here. I’ve been coming here for years,” said Emma Burke of Danville.

At last check, Walnut Creek had not received any credible intelligence that another targeted robbery was going to happen Friday.

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