Thieves strike Nordstrom in Southern California, spray ‘chemical substance’

California

(KTLA) — A group of five thieves stole purses from the Nordstrom at the Westfield Topanga & The Village shopping center in Canoga Park Wednesday night, according to authorities.

Brian Humphrey of the Los Angeles Fire Department said they were called to assist at the shopping center at 6:48 p.m.

Four of the suspects grabbed high-end handbags as the fifth used “a chemical substance” to debilitate a security guard, according to Deputy Chief Alan Hamilton of the Los Angeles Police Department.

“Right now, we have a number of high-value handbags that were stolen from this location,” Hamilton said.

One member of the group wore an orange wig, the Associated Press reported.

As in previous similar incidents, the group of robbers broke glass in the process of the theft.

In this case, the glass-enclosed display cases contained smaller items, said Nordstrom employee Whitney Sterk.

“They went straight to the Bottega Veneta boutique and started to smash the glass where they keep the smaller handbags and smaller items,” Sterk said.

Sterk added that after the robbers sprayed the chemical, her coworkers struggled to breathe or open their eyes, and “one of them had some burns on her face from it.”

The LAPD is looking for the suspects, who are believed to be in a blue or gray mustang with no plates.

Another group of thieves also struck the Beverly Center on Wednesday, the LAPD said in a press release.

Correction: An earlier version of this article gave the incorrect name for the Westfield Topanga & The Village shopping center and incorrectly stated that the robbers did not physically break into the Nordstrom. The story has been updated to reflect that the exact methods the thieves used have yet to be released.

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