News


Expensive Gucci handbags stolen from Nordstrom

Groups gets away with more than $100,000 in merchandise

A group of thieves wielding box and wire cutters stormed the Nordstrom store at Stanford Shopping Center on Monday night and stole an estimated $111,779 in high-end Gucci handbags, Palo Alto police said.

The group of seven young men and women entered the store at about 8:35 p.m. In full view of customers and staff, the group went directly to the handbag section and cut metal cables at display counters to which the handbags were attached, police Sgt. Wayne Benitez said.

Draping the handbag straps over their arms to maximize their heist, the individuals took less than a minute to finish their thefts before running out the door. The group of alleged thieves entered two cars -- a Honda or Acura with no license plate and what appeared to be a Nissan Sentra -- which were stationed near the exit doors closest to Arboretum Road. The cars were seen driving east on Sand Hill Road toward El Camino Real, Benitez said.

Witnesses previously put the number of thieves at between 10 and 20 individuals before police reviewed surveillance video. The perpetrators were described as three black males and four black females. They tired to conceal their identities and wore multiple colors of clothing, Agent Marianna Villaescusa said in an update on Wednesday evening.

The store tallied 49 purses were stolen. With their more than $111,000 value, that averages at $2,281.20 per purse.

No one was injured, but one store employee thought that a female perpetrator might have punched her as she attempted to take back the handbags when the thief ran toward the door. The box cutters were used as tools and do not appear to have been used as weapons to threaten anyone, Benitez said.

He cautioned that in these situations people should not attempt to stop a theft or to be a hero.

"Criminals are prepared for an encounter, honest people aren't. People who want to be a hero, it's not the best thing. The best thing to do is to be a witness," he said.

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Comments

43 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 9, 2018 at 10:32 pm

Per a previous article about the spike in car burglaries in Palo Alto, property theft is still illegal but not punishable in California. Presumably, the citizens are pretty much on their own to protect their own properties. Good luck!


49 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 9, 2018 at 10:51 pm

Nayeli is a registered user.

There isn't any better descriptions of the perpetrators other than "black males and females?" What colors were the vehicles?


61 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 9, 2018 at 11:21 pm

Of course property theft is still punishable in California. A theft of over $950 is grand theft and punishable by up to 3 years in prison. The problem in California is underfunding of police departments, which limits their ability to deter and/or catch the criminals. Same goes for traffic crimes like speeding and hit-and-run.


20 people like this
Posted by Shari
a resident of Duveneck School
on Jan 10, 2018 at 1:38 am

@Nayeli: It’s too late to publicize the car colors anyway. How can “black people in blue car yesterday night” help at this point?

8:30 during business hours is very bold!


22 people like this
Posted by Video
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 10, 2018 at 7:14 am

Is there no security camera footage?


22 people like this
Posted by Video
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 10, 2018 at 7:16 am

follow up - ok. Police have it, but why not release images of suspects sooner?


15 people like this
Posted by ah-haaa
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 10, 2018 at 7:44 am

I knew there was a reason that we get profiled when we walk into Nordstroms, Bloomingdales and Neiman Marcus.....


13 people like this
Posted by questions arise
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 10, 2018 at 8:42 am

No mention here of mall security. Nordstrom pays rent - the public goes there. Any response from
Simon Property?


13 people like this
Posted by AllYouCanEat
a resident of Mountain View
on Jan 10, 2018 at 9:32 am

[Post removed.]


17 people like this
Posted by PAmom
a resident of Gunn High School
on Jan 10, 2018 at 9:47 am

Ha, they were probably listening to that song "Gucci Gang." Telling that they targeted Gucci bags and not Prada, Kate Spades, LVs, etc.


20 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 10, 2018 at 10:09 am

Do these bags have serial numbers? EBay and Craigslist should require sellers to list the serial numbers of expensive, frequently stolen products.


10 people like this
Posted by MENLO
a resident of another community
on Jan 10, 2018 at 10:40 am

Gucci Gang...LOL


8 people like this
Posted by Elsa
a resident of another community
on Jan 10, 2018 at 11:12 am

Where was the security guard they have often stationed right there? Gone home?


2 people like this
Posted by Barbara
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 10, 2018 at 11:29 am

Another good and smart reason to shop online!!!


14 people like this
Posted by Anke
a resident of Mountain View
on Jan 10, 2018 at 12:34 pm

@Barbara, ...until you have a package stolen from your front porch :-(


9 people like this
Posted by To ah-haaa
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 10, 2018 at 12:40 pm

If it’s any consolation, I get profiled in those last two stores, too (don’t dress “rich enough”), so I put my money elsewhere. Vote with your feet with your dollar.


19 people like this
Posted by 4 gen Paly girl
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 10, 2018 at 1:12 pm

This type of heist is happening more and more frequently and, yet, Nordstrom still displays their handbags right in front of the main door. Expensive handbags are not impulse buys and the department should probably be moved to a higher floor where access is more difficult. I am sure that people in the market for these items would be able to find them elsewhere in the store.


5 people like this
Posted by Shopper
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 10, 2018 at 4:14 pm

4 gen paly girl: expensive handbags are an impulse buy in this area. Just look up from your cell phone when you're walking around town and notice the handbags that women are carrying. I recently worked with a woman at a local high-tech company who admitted to spending over 100k on handbags. It's not that unusual around here.


32 people like this
Posted by Michael Craig
a resident of another community
on Jan 10, 2018 at 11:33 pm

I live in Belmont and shop at Palo Alto Stanford Mall. I was surprised but not really, that all local TV News withheld the fact that it was a group of black people stealing. It is a dejavu of the rash of thefts on Bart that also were not reported as being done by people of color. Videos from Bart were available to the Police but were not released(just like this Nordstrom robbery) in the guise of being racially sensitive and not wanting to create racial bias. I think the message it sends to blacks doing crimes is that no one will see their faces and be able to identify them so it makes it easier for them to get away with crimes if every video surveillance is withheld because of political correctness. If the criminals felt that their faces would be plastered all over the news, maybe they would be less likely to commit the crimes but since we have to protect the feelings of criminals we will not likely ever catch them or deter them. I am aware that not all people of color are criminals but withholding this information does the public no good for safety and security. If the public is allowed to see the footage, we can help the police to do their job if we see the perpetrators we can report them. I find it strange that if a white person commits the crime it is OK to show the video but not a black person. Criminals should be held responsible regardless of their color and they should not be able to hide behind political correctness. Show the videos.

Web Link


12 people like this
Posted by Handbagcollector(legit)
a resident of another community
on Jan 11, 2018 at 12:01 am

About the time of the theft, it’s not so “bold.” I worked in high-end department stores for some years. In the last hour before closing, things are quiet and employees are staring to tidy up the merchandise, preparing for closing. They are fatigued by that time, too, and perhaps less attentive. I assume the thieves knew all this, and planned accordingly. It’s also a time when street traffic is low, for a quick escape. Years ago a higher-end department store like Nordstrom would keep the very expensive handbags behind glass. Now that so many handbag brands are $1800 and up, they have resorted to displaying them in the open tied with inadequate cables. The store blew it on this. Forget the handbags: they did not protect their employees!

As for racial profiling...no. Security looks at more than race. I’m white, female, and well-dressed and I have often been followed by plainclothes security while shopping (I know how to spot them), probably because I am usually shopping alone. I was so angry about this once in Neiman Marcus — the security person could not have been more obvious — I marched up to customer service and complained. And I stopped shopping there.

Some designer handbags do come with codes, but buyers of stolen goods don’t care about that kind of thing. The police may be keeping an eye on EBay and Craigslist for the items, and they sometimes set up stings for Craigslist exchanges. It’s very possible that the thieves are stealing to order, too, and already have buyers. I’d say the stuff is gone for good.


7 people like this
Posted by Michelle
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 11, 2018 at 12:07 am

You mean to tell me that Nordstrom selling bags/purses for that much cash, and they don’t have one of them Brinks or Garda security personnel guarding thoses bags/purses. Looks like they need to invest in a vault.
I’m sure the poor security guard who was on duty was contracted out by a third party agency. That poor person was probably barely making ends meet. Put yourself in that person shoes your guarding items that you barely can purchase in a years worth of work. I’m sorry but ones life is worth more than them outrageous priced goods. That employee that tried to stop the thieves is lucky to be living.


6 people like this
Posted by Hanbagcollector(legit)
a resident of another community
on Jan 11, 2018 at 12:12 am

@Michael Craig, there may be a reason the police have not released surveillance video to the news. As for identifying race in the verbal description, I agree that is ridiculous. It’s part of a physical description, after all. Note that the report says the thieves tried to disguise their identities, though, so video may not reveal much. They may have worn hats, hoods, wigs, glasses or other gear. But it should be shown if it’s made available. Someone who has a grudge against one of them might recognize one of them and rat him or her out! You can hope, anyway.


10 people like this
Posted by Beautiful
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 11, 2018 at 10:25 am

[Post removed.]


8 people like this
Posted by Shopper
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 11, 2018 at 11:47 am

[Post removed due to deletion of referenced comment.]


2 people like this
Posted by BiLL H
a resident of another community
on Jan 11, 2018 at 1:20 pm

At least these thieves didn't hurt anyone. It's one thing to harm an individual and large luxury retail another.


3 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 11, 2018 at 2:47 pm

Don't underestimate the harm that's been done.
This has not improved anyone's attitude.


2 people like this
Posted by Gunn Dad
a resident of Gunn High School
on Jan 14, 2018 at 10:22 pm

Gunn Dad is a registered user.

"The group of alleged thieves" -- hilarious. I guess the article is trying to say the thieves allegedly entered the cars described above. Copy edit, aisle 2!


2 people like this
Posted by Sophie
a resident of another community
on Jan 14, 2018 at 11:39 pm

If police continue describing perps as black without showing video, people will become alerted when encountering people with color. How does it help reduce the racial profiling?


2 people like this
Posted by Obscene prices
a resident of Stanford
on Jan 15, 2018 at 2:33 am

Am I the only one who thinks spending anything like a thousand dollars on a purse is obscene?
There is a store on University Avenue that sells similar merchandise. Sometimes when I'm passing by I look in their window to see what kind of creepy people shop there.
More money than brains, I guess.


3 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 15, 2018 at 4:15 am

^ Reminds me of the line from "Pretty Woman" where the Rodeo Drive boutique sales-clerk asks Richard Gere, "Exactly how obscene an amount of money were you talking about? Just profane or really offensive?"

Kind of like shopping for a house in Palo Alto. The purse is negligible.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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