SHERMAN OAKS, Calif. (KABC) -- A flash mob struck a Macy's department store in Sherman Oaks on Thursday afternoon in a dramatic robbery that was captured on video.
The incident at Westfield Fashion Square was only the latest in a series of organized robberies, many of them recorded by bystanders, that have plagued Southern California retailers.
Thursday's theft occurred just after 12:30 p.m. and involved nine masked males who filled bags with stolen merchandise before running out of the store at 14000 Riverside Drive. All of the suspects, described as being in their early 20s, wore hooded sweatshirts and dark-colored clothing.
The fled the scene in two cars -- a silver or gold Honda and a black Ford Fusion.
The robbery comes a week after a task force was formed to address retail crime in the region.
The task force is comprised of multiple Southern California law enforcement agencies, including the Los Angeles Police Department and the L.A. County Sheriff's Department, as well as the U.S. Marshals Apprehension Task Force and Federal Bureau of Investigation Apprehension Task Force.
Among recent incidents of organized retail crime cited by police, more than 30 masked individuals stole more than $300,000 worth of merchandise from a Nordstrom in Canoga Park on Aug. 12, in a "flash rob"-style theft, the LAPD said. One suspect sprayed bear spray on the face and body of a security guard, police said.
"What we've seen over just the past week in the City of Los Angeles and in surrounding regions is unacceptable, which is why today we are here announcing action," Mayor Karen Bass said in a statement last week. "These are not victimless crimes -- especially in the case where Angelenos were attacked -- through force or fear-- as they did their jobs or ran errands."
The task force will feature 22 full-time investigators devoted to organized retail crime, according to Deputy Chief Kris Pitcher, the chief of detectives for LAPD.