Police have arrested well over 100 people for looting stores in the states of México, Mexico City and Puebla this week in incidents that in some cases were orchestrated via social media.
In México state alone 113 people were detained, public security officials said at a press conference today, after 33 stores suffered attempted looting, 13 were vandalized and four were actually robbed of merchandise.
The first looting report resulted in the arrest of 11 people suspected of stealing goods from an Elektra store.
In response to the outbreak, the state Attorney General’s office implemented a preventive surveillance operation targeting department stores in the municipalities of Ecatepec, Coacalco, Nezahualcóyotl, Tlalnepantla, Naucalpan, Atizapán, Izcalli, Zumpango, Toluca and Metepec.
In México City, at least two stores were targeted by well organized looters.
The first instance took place in a Coppel store located in the borough of Gustavo A. Madero. Yesterday afternoon a group of eight people entered the store and approached the area where cellphones are on display.
In manner that appeared coordinated, the individuals took hammers out of their backpacks, shattered the glass display cabinets and helped themselves to the phones. None has been apprehended.
A Sam’s Club store in the borough of Iztapalapa was targeted in a similar manner.
According to the store manager, three men wearing dark, bulky clothes and caps entered the store and approached an area where expensive watches were on display.
When one of the men attempted to grab a watch a sales clerk stopped him and told him the watch had to be paid for first at the cash register. The man then produced a handgun and threatened the clerk.
He and his accomplices then helped themselves to CAT, Reebok and Puma watches, exited through the back door and left in a vehicle that was waiting for them.
Similar crimes appear to have been thwarted in the neighboring state of Puebla.
Police arrested a man and a woman after intelligence work found they had been using text messaging and social media to incite people to loot.
México state officials said they had identified two Facebook pages — with more than 2,500 followers — that were being used to encourage looters. Two WhatsApp groups were doing the same.