We should all feel holiday cheer in the air, but in downtown Walnut Creek, many shoppers are feeling anxiety and tension, after a swarm of 50 to 80 thieves targeted the high-end Nordstrom store over the weekend.
The city is ramping up police and closing off a key street to traffic in hopes of preventing any more retail robberies.
Broadway Plaza leads to a bunch of sought-after stores like Nordstrom, Apple and Lululemon, and the only way you can access the road is by foot.
The city installed orange barriers Sunday to prevent getaway cars from pulling up like they were in a viral video taken by our NBC Bay Area’s Jodi Hernandez Saturday night.
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And Mayor Kevin Wilk says this is not the only tool they’re willing to use.
“If it means that we are going to detour roads, if it means we’re going to have more police on the street and more security around, whatever it is, every option is on the table,” said Wilk.
Whatever it takes to avoid a repeat of this.
Saturday night, police say as many as 80 people swarmed the Nordstrom store right before 9 p.m. and grabbed whatever they could get their hands on. Two workers were attacked, including one person who was pepper sprayed.
“I don’t want to be in the middle of the chaos when it happens. Getting knocked down. Pushed aside, sprayed,” said shopper Karry Petrakis from Napa.
Three people were arrested and Mayor Wilk says more arrests are on the way, thanks to license plate readers and a trove of surveillance video.
Wilk is calling on the Contra Costa County district attorney to make an example of the thieves who were caught.
“If these people aren’t prosecuted, then not only are they out and able to do it again but other people see that, and they might say hey this is an opportunity of crime,” said Milk.
After watching that viral video, Petrakis had mixed feelings about coming to Walnut Creek to get her Christmas shopping done.
“I’m thinking closing time, we’re outta here,” she said. “It’s just nerve-wracking and it’s sad that it’s here. It’s a beautiful town. And I used to shop here all the time. But no more.”
Those that go to Walnut Creek on Black Friday are going to see a heavy police presence.
“This could happen anywhere in the Bay Area so we need to get together with other cities to ensure that we’re keeping people safe,” said Milk.
Mayor Wilk says he’s spoken to other mayors in Contra Costa County about the security threat to shopping centers and it’s an issue every mayor is worried about.
Could there be more street closures in downtown Walnut Creek? It's a possibility, says the Mayor but it’s easier said than done and it does require some planning because this area gets so much traffic.