Police seek public assistance in identifying suspects in high-end store robbery captured on video using fire extinguisher.

Washington, D.C. is in the headlines again, but this time it’s not for political shenanigans or government gridlock. Instead, it’s for a daring, daylight robbery at the upscale CityCenter Chanel store.

According to the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, a gang of five individuals armed with a fire extinguisher stormed into the Chanel store on Dec. 17, setting off the extinguisher as a diversion while they made off with a staggering $250,000 worth of luxury merchandise.

While a security officer did fire a shot at the thieves as they fled, no injuries or property damage were reported. However, it’s hardly the first time this particular Chanel store has been targeted in such a manner. Just this past February, the store was hit by a similar flash mob-style robbery that also featured a fire extinguisher distraction.

As WTTG-TV reported, the case is still an ongoing investigation. The situation is not unique to Washington, D.C., though. Smash-and-grab robberies are on the rise nationwide, particularly in cities like San Francisco and Chicago.

Over the past few years, California and Chicago have seen a disturbing trend of smash-and-grab robberies that have targeted high-end retailers. Typically, a group of individuals will storm a store, take what they want, and then leave before law enforcement can arrive. Some businesses have suffered losses in the millions of dollars from these brazen thefts.

Former Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot expressed disappointment at the lack of safety measures being taken by retailers in Chicago, placing some of the blame for these robberies on the stores themselves. The public didn’t take too kindly to that, and Lightfoot found herself voted out of office in 2023.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has been in office since 2015, and the recent increase in crime rates suggests things may not be getting much better under her watch. With violent crime and property crime both up significantly in 2023, Bowser may find herself facing a tough re-election battle.

Whether she can pull off a Lightfoot and shift the blame for the city’s crime woes, though, is another question entirely. It’s clear that the residents of Washington, D.C., and other major cities are fed up with the rise in smash-and-grab robberies and will be looking for leadership that can effectively combat this disturbing trend.


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