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Chanel latest target in string of Southern California smash-and-grab attacks

Crews made off with thousands of dollars worth of Chanel bags from stores in Los Angeles and Newport Beach within a span of 12 hours Wednesday, police said.
A Chanel store in Los Angeles
A Chanel store in the in the Beverly Grove neighborhood of Los Angeles.Google Maps

LOS ANGELES — Thousands of dollars worth of high-end bags were stolen from two Chanel stores within a span of 12 hours Wednesday, the latest brazen robberies of jewelry and fashion retailers around Southern California, authorities said.

In the first incident, a white van rammed into the display window of the luxury brands store in the Beverly Grove neighborhood of Los Angeles at 4:30 a.m. PDT, police said.

As many as eight people grabbed items from that display case at 125 N. Robertson Blvd., and escaped in three vehicles, a witness told NBC Los Angeles.

“Youngsters, coming out of a bunch of cars, grabbing a bunch of clothes,” said a witness, who was working across the street when the smash-and-grab went down. “They took everything that was in the display case.”

The rest of the store, aside from that display window, was not breached. The white van, believed to have been stolen, was later recovered and police searched it for fingerprints and other possible evidence.

Five people were taken into custody in connection with the incident, according to NBC Los Angeles

About 4:30 p.m., the Chanel boutique at the Nieman Marcus in Newport Beach was left ransacked after a man and at least six others made off with expensive bags, the news station reported.

During a pursuit, the group threw the stolen Chanel bags out of the window and onto the 405 and 73 freeways, police told NBC Los Angeles.

A representative of Chanel could not be immediately reached for comment on Thursday.

Smash-and-grab robberies of fashion and jewelry stores appear to be on the rise in and around Los Angeles.

In January, hammer-wielding robbers pulled off a similar heist at JB Diamonds & Fine Jewelry in Newport Beach, not far from the popular Fashion Island shopping mall.

In April, two men with hammers attacked a Kay Jewelers store and stole items, Brea police said.

Then in May, smash-and-grab robbers hit the Princess Bride Diamonds jewelry store in the Bella Terra shopping center, Huntington Beach police said.

Security camera captured four people in hoods entering the store. One pulled out a hammer to smash a display case before employees confronted the would-be robbers. They kicked and punched the robbers until they retreated with about $7,700 in jewelry, police said.

Andrew Blankstein reported from Los Angeles and David K. Li from New York.