Good Samaritans save the day from holiday season shoplifters

 Five people were arrested Saturday night in connection with two separate “grab and run” thefts from Broadway Plaza department stores, with two customers in the second case helping to tackle a suspect trying to steal high-end purses from Nordstrom.

The first theft occurred at about 6:30 p.m. at H&M department store, Walnut Creek police said. A Walnut Creek police officer driving on Broadway near Mt. Diablo Boulevard noticed three people running from H&M with a large amount of clothing in their arms. The officer saw the three get into a car. As the officer pulled up behind the car, one person got out and ran away on Duncan Street toward North Main Street.

The officer saw various items of clothing–valued at about $1,000–strewn throughout the car with security sensors still attached. An H&M employee identified the suspects as having been in the store, and the clothing as belong to H&M.

Police arrested four Oakland residents who were in the car, including a 16-year-old girl, on suspicion of burglary, possession of stolen property, conspiracy and parole violations. They are Jomal Lavell Reed, 29; Nequasha Tanaya Potts, 34; Marcus Dwayne Reed, 31; and the unidentified teen girl.

Officers searched the area for the man who ran. He is described as a black male in his 20s or 30s, wearing a cap and a blue striped shirt. The man had some type of piercing between his cheekbone and his eye.

Two hours later, Nordstrom customers helped catch a man who was trying to run out of the store carrying $10,000 worth of high-end purses.

Witnesses told police that the suspect, identified as Bryan Charles Black, 42, of Oakland, and a woman entered Nordstrom, selected armloads of purses, and tried to run out. When they set off the security sensor alarm, they tried to push past customers, but one customer tried to grab Black’s arm. Black pepper-sprayed the customer in the face, police said.

A second passerby tackled Black as he ran to a waiting car. Black pepper-sprayed this man as well, police said, but  the man hit him back. The two fought for several moments before other customers and a Nordstrom security guard arrived to help get control over Black.

Black’s alleged accomplice got away by jumping into a waiting car, described as a Beige Ford Fushion with paper plate.

Black was transported to county hospital to be treated for minor injuries before being booked into county jail in Martinez on suspicion of robbery, burglary and assault. The two good samaritans were treated at the scene for minor injuries and released.

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