Fourteen arrested over spate of Los Angeles smash-and-grab raids

Image source, Getty ImagesImage caption, Mayor Garcetti said that some people needed to be behind bars

Fourteen people have been arrested over a series of smash-and-grab robberies at retail outlets in Los Angeles in recent weeks, police say.

Nearly $340,000 (£256,000) worth of goods were stolen between 18 and 28 November.

All of the suspects were released from custody pending trial.

Police and city officials called for an end to a bail relaxation policy for some defendants, introduced to prevent jail overcrowding during Covid-19.

Police chief Michel Moore said four robberies, six burglaries and one grand theft had been carried out, leading to $338,000 worth of goods being stolen and $40,000 of property damaged.

He said one of the suspects was a juvenile and the others had either been bailed or met no-bail criteria.

It usually took three to four months for suspects to be arraigned, and criminal elements were capitalising on this situation, the police chief added.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said that with Covid infection levels easing it was time for more room to be found in jails and for more judges to put more people in them.

"There are people who need to be behind bars," he told reporters on Thursday.

"How many times does someone have to steal a car – three, four, five times – before we realise?"

The November incidents are part of a recent spate of large-scale thefts in California and across the US involving shoplifting by flash mobs or smash-and-grab raids on display cases.

Retailers fear the perpetrators face little accountability for their crimes, prompting officials to promise a crackdown on these groups.

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