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LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- As the holiday shopping season gets underway, stores throughout Southern California are seeing a shocking increase in smash-and-grab robberies. Police are also investigating a growing number of disturbing follow-home robberies.

On Monday, thieves tried to hit The Grove, smashing out windows at Nordstrom with a sledgehammer.

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Three suspects are in police custody Tuesday in connection with a reported smash-and-grab robbery at The Grove.

Wednesday night brought a smash-and-grab to the Nordstrom at Topanga mall, with a group of five suspects attacking a security guard and making off with expensive pursues.

In Northern California, mobs have ransacked malls, pharmacies and clothing stores.

Police in Santa Monica, Los Angeles and other high-profile shopping districts are stepping up patrols, and even CHP units are helping out.

"We know that when police officers are visible we have safer neighborhoods, better interactions and overall a safer city," said Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore.

The department is also launching a special task force to investigate a rash of more than 100 follow home robberies. Monday in Hollywood a man was shot and killed when he ran to help a woman being robbed by a group of eight people.

Some stores are stepping up security and adding extra alarms. Safety officials say the best thing you can do is always to be on alert and aware of your surroundings.

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Tags: safety lapd robbery smash and grab smash and grab robberies follow home robberies holiday shopping are stepping up los angeles

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Hours-Long Fire Severely Damages Rockland Shopping Center

Two firefighters were hospitalized as a stubborn blaze broke out in a basement gun range, spread through a Rockland County shopping center, and continued burning for several hours on Sunday, Nov. 28, responders said.

Firefighters from Mahwah, Montvale, and River Vale were among more than 100 from Rockland, Westchester, and Bergen counties either at the Pearl River scene or in coverage through the afternoon and into the evening.

The sneaky blaze began shortly before noon in the long-gun range at the Rockland Indoor Shooting Education Center beneath the Dollar General store on North Middletown Road, Pearl River Fire Chief Jim Morrison said.

The range was occupied at the time, Morrison told Rockland Video Productions.

The shopping center was evacuated as flames spread into a "void space" between the ceiling of the gun range and the floor of the stores above, traveling "all the way across the whole length of the building," the chief said.

It continued to burn beneath Dollar General and the Dunkin Donuts next door past nightfall, causing problems for firefighters who couldn't get to it, he said.

"The way the building was constructed, we're not able to get to where the seat of the fire is," Morrison explained shortly before 5:30 p.m. "Every time we open a space, there's another space."

  • Pearl River Fire (Rockland Video Productions)

The chief requested Westchester's Technical Rescue Team to use jackhammers to open the floors.

Two firefighters were taken to Montefiore Nyack Hospital for treatment of carbon monoxide poisoning, Morrison said.

EMS set up a tent at the scene to evaluate other firefighters.

Mutual aid responders either at the scene or in coverage included firefighters from Monsey, Nanuet, New City, Nyack, Orangeburg, Pearl River, Spring Valley, Tappan, Thiells, West Haverstraw, and West Nyack.

Check back to Daily Voice for updates.

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