Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.
That timeless adage could not be more appropriate to describe a pair of alleged thieves in California this week.
Taking place at the Del Amo Fashion Center mall in Torrance, the suspected ne’er-do-wells thought they had an easy enough score on their hands, failing to realize that there was a military recruitment center in that mall.
“Last night, officers responded to several masked suspects armed with hammer & gloves stealing from a jewelry store within the mall,” the Torrance Police Department posted to its Facebook. “As they attempted to flee, nearby military personnel & by-standers held 2 suspects until officers arrived.”
According to KCBS-TV, there were four suspected robbers in total, with just the two pictured above who were apprehended.
No identities of any of the suspects have been made public as of this writing.
“Great work to all involved including Marine Corps Recruiting South Bay! #OurJobTogether,” the Torrance police also posted on Facebook.
You can watch the CKBS video on the attempted robbery below:
“One of them had a hammer, so he was coming out, let him slide by, saw the other three with no weapons, grabbed one of them, dropped them down and just kind of detained them,” Staff Sgt. Josue Fragosomedina said. “And then when I looked back, a couple of my recruiters and, actually, one of my applicants was detaining the other guy, so we got two of the four.”
Thanks to the swift response of the military personnel, most of the stolen jewelry was recovered.
Here is KTTV’s segment on the incident, which includes some more footage of the actual skirmish itself:
As the KTTV video alludes to, the incident in Torrance is becoming a more and more common occurrence in California, particularly with the state’s more relaxed laws on shoplifting.
While this epidemic of shoplifting in California can widely range in tone — from the brazen to the tragic to the almost militaristic — it does appear to be more rampant than at any time in recent memory.
And it’s not just one-off incidents with random jewelry stores being raided. This has become enough of a problem that a pair of veritable retail titans, Target and Walmart, have both expressed grave concern and threatened extreme measures. Those measures can include outright closing the store.
So what should you do if you find yourself in a store being burglarized? Do not replicate what those heroic marines did in Torrance!
“Personally, it makes me feel good that there are still people out here willing to help out,” said TPD Sergeant Alexander Martinez told KCBS. “But, from the police department side, we don’t encourage people to step in and try to take matters into their own hand. We prefer that people just be kind of good witnesses and try to get as much information as they can to provide to police departments, so when we respond we can locate these individuals.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.