PALO ALTO (CBS SF) – Police in Palo Alto are searching for at least seven people suspected of stealing $50,000 in handbags Monday, as they investigate possible connections to two recent heists nearby.
Investigators said the theft took place at The RealReal on University Avenue shortly before 6 p.m. According to investigators, five of the suspects entered the store and began ripping handbags from their security cables.
A security guard at the store attempted to block the suspects, but they were able to push him out of the way. Police said the guard then followed them out of the store, where he was confronted by two additional suspects who were waiting outside.
One of the suspects told the guard “Don’t make me pull the gun,” police said, but the guard did not see a weapon.
The suspects were last seen heading eastbound on University Avenue before the guard heard screeching tires from vehicles parked on Waverley Street. Police said the guard did not see the getaway vehicles.
Store employees said about 20 bags were stolen.
Police said the suspects were described as males in their 20s, who were all wearing face coverings and hooded clothing with the hoods up.
Monday’s incident follows two other handbag heists at two high-end retailers less than a mile away at the Stanford Shopping Center. On May 19, at least 10 suspects stole more than $150,000 in handbags from Neiman Marcus.
Meanwhile, 11 people are suspected in a June 7 robbery at Louis Vuitton, where an estimated $100,000 in handbags were stolen.
Police said they are working with other law enforcement agencies to determine if the heists are connected.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact Palo Alto Police at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or by text or voicemail at 650-383-8984.