The stores opened at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving night.
COMMERCE, Calif. (KABC) -- The Citadel Outlets opened on Thanksgiving for Black Friday shopping, the first time since the start of the pandemic that they opened early for the holiday tradition.
"We are hoping we return to some return normalcy, that we have a big crowd, that people are happy to be back," said outlets manager David Blagg.
According to Blagg, the outlets did not open early for Black Friday shopping in 2020 - which usually happens on Thanksgiving night.
This year, they opened the gates to the property at 4 p.m. to let shoppers in, but the stores opened at 8 p.m.
Lines were long as shoppers waited for the chance to buy merchandise at discounted prices and thousands of people showed up to the mall.
In light of recent flash mob thefts that have been going on across California, Blagg said they're taking a different approach with security this year.
"We do have some new security measures that are in place," said Blagg. "Let's just say that within a minute to two minutes of an alarm being sounded, needing to close the centers as far as access in or out we are very capable of doing that," said Blagg.
The thefts are believed to be part of sophisticated criminal networks that recruit mainly young people to steal merchandise in stores throughout the country and then sell it in online marketplaces. Experts and law enforcement officials say the thefts are ratcheting up as the holiday shopping season gets underway.
The National Retail Federation said a recent survey found stores are seeing an increase in organized thefts and perpetrators being more aggressive.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.