"Flash mob" thieves targeted big box stores on Black Friday — including a Home Depot in Los Angeles where they threatened employees and customers with sledgehammers that had been stolen from the store.
"At about 7:45 p.m., eight or nine young men entered Home Depot ... and stole multiple hammers, crowbars, wrenches and other tools before fleeing into waiting vehicles," KTLA Channel 5 reports, adding that the tools were valued at $400 and "could be used for future crimes."
Home Depot employee Luis Romo told KTTV Channel 11: "We tried to stop them. We closed the front entrance, and they put their sledgehammers up and whoever got in the way, they were going to hurt them."
Video from the incident (below) appears to show the suspects threatening a customer with sledgehammers after bumping into him on their way out of the store.
Meanwhile, at least 30 people entered a Best Buy store in Burnsville, Minnesota, on Friday and stole electronics. Another Best Buy store nearby was also burglarized by a group of 10-12 people, CNN reported.
Reuters noted that the incidents are part of a "a surging U.S. crime trend in which groups of thieves swarm a store, ransack the shelves and flee."