Smash-and-grab handbag thieves struck again in Palo Alto this week, making off with $50,000 in pricey handbags.
Palo Alto police said the heist occurred Monday afternoon when a "coordinated group" hit the RealReal store in Palo Alto, following the same pattern of two previous crimes.
Five males entered the store at 379 University Ave. just before 6pm June 21, police said, ripping handbags from security cables, then pushing aside a security guard who attempted to stop them from fleeing.
The guard followed them out of the store but was confronted by two additional men who threatened that they had a gun, though none was actually shown, police reported.
The seven thieves then ran east on University Avenue, and the security officer reported hearing the sound of screeching tires on Waverley Street, out of his vision.
An estimated 20 handbags valued at more than $50,000 were taken, according to employees.
The seven suspects were wearing facemasks and hooded clothing with the hoods up, employees said.
Police are investigating whether the theft is connected to similar thefts at Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto. More than $150,000 in handbags were taken from the Neiman Marcus store on May 19 and $100,000 in handbags from the Louis Vuitton store on June 7.
Anyone with information is asked to call the police dispatch center at (650) 329-2413. Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to [email protected] or sent via text message or voice mail to (650) 383-8984.