LAPD searching for up to 20 suspects linked to 'flash robberies'

Authorities are looking for a group of up to 20 people suspected of committing a string of what Los Angeles police are calling "flash robberies," during which a large group descends on a store, steals merchandise, then runs out.

The robberies have occurred mostly in the evening at stores within a few miles of one another, near the Boyle Heights, Fashion District and South Park neighborhoods, according to a news release from the LAPD. Investigators said the robberies started in early March.

Read more: Police accuse two youths in string of armed robberies in the Los Angeles area

Police said that in the robberies, 10 to 20 suspects, often dressed in hoods and masks, rapidly entered and exited the stores. They appeared to be 15 to 25 years old, the LAPD said, and could attend nearby high schools.

It wasn't immediately clear if the suspects were armed, but the LAPD said they "have used force and displayed a lack of regard for the safety of witnesses and victims."

A spokesperson for LAPD declined to say how many robberies have occurred or name stores that were targeted.

The LAPD Organized Retail Crimes Task Force is asking for help identifying the suspects, releasing several images of the young people that appear to be from security footage. Anyone with information can call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.