A series of armed robberies targeting Trader Joe's locations in Southern California has police suspecting serial assailants. At least seven armed robberies have occurred at Trader Joe's stores in the region in recent months, including four in Los Angeles, per the Los Angeles Times. Stores in Long Beach, Irvine, and Culver City also have been targeted, reports NBC Los Angeles. (It counts eight robberies.) The scene of the crime isn't the only commonality: Police say all robberies occurred in the evening, without injuries, and involved a few armed suspects who escaped on foot. In the most recent case, two men took $4,800 from a Trader Joe's in Culver City on the night of April 12, before fleeing on foot.
Both suspects are described as 5-foot-8 and in their 20s—one reportedly had a scar under an eye—but police were unable to get video footage because the Trader Joe's store doesn't have security cameras. "We trust our customers and do not conduct surveillance on them," Trader Joe's says, while a company rep tells the Times that only some stores have security cameras or guards. That's a red flag for retail security consultant Bob Dilonardo. He raises the possibility that robbers might be taking advantage of an "extremely unusual" lack of security. "Criminals don't live in a vacuum. When they discover a situation that's easier, rather than more difficult, they take advantage," he says.