Adam Schrader. Daily Mail, February 5, 2021
An armed gang were caught on video ransacking Chanel store in New York’s upmarket SoHo neighborhood, making off with bundles of bags and wallets worth $160,000.
The NYPD said that four men, who are believed to have raided at least 23 other stores since September, entered the store around 2pm on Tuesday.
The gang were filmed brazenly snatching bags and high end goods off the shelves.
When confronted by the store’s 61-year-old female security guard, one of the men allegedly lifted his shirt to flash the butt of a pistol tucked into his waistband.
The security guard, who the New York Daily News reported is a retired officer with the NYPD, told the man that she was also armed.
‘What are you going to do, shoot me?’ the man allegedly responded.
The armed man then allegedly directed his friends to snatch whatever they could and video shows them grabbing the goods while witnesses watch horrified.
The robbers then ran out the door and fled in an Audi with no license plates, officials told the Daily News.
The bandits got away with 32 handbags and 12 wallets worth around $160,000, WABC-TV reported.
At another date, they were caught on another high end SoHo store, Moncler’s surveillance cameras; fleeing while carrying arms full with jackets. Some jackets on the store’s website fetch prices well over $2,000.
NYPD Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison said the men in the video are behind at least 20 robberies high end retail stores in Manhattan since September 1.
‘These criminals are capitalizing off of wearing these face masks, so it’s extremely difficult to identify who these individuals are.’ Harrison said.
‘Unfortunately, we have not been able to identify these perpetrators. But we do have persons of interest we are looking at.’
The suspects have shown a pattern of rushing the store then fleeing in rental cars, sometimes with the license plates switched or removed, that are not easily tracked.
‘They go into the store, snatch things off the shelves and speed off with a blatant disregard for everyone around them,’ Harrison said.
‘The monetary value is a very big range, and sometimes they go and snatch and grab when the stores are closed.’
The thieves then poach the stolen goods on various social media sites, Harrison said.
‘Anyone caught with these items will be part of the investigation,’ Harrison said.
In October, the New York Post reported that the SoHo bandits were even threatening security guards with being labelled racist.
‘If they [store personnel] stop them and say anything in the store before they’ve left the building then it often gets turned into a racial accusation,’ a source told the outlet.
‘The brands … tell their employees to walk away. They don’t want to be the next Instagram video claiming they are a racist brand.’
Other stores victimized in the nieghborhood include Adidas, Fendi and Burberry.
NYPD Sgt. Joseph Imperatric told The Post that investigators are aware that ‘mobs of young, transient groups’ have ‘bulldozed through aisles grabbing as much as their arms can hold.’