The Columbus Dispatch

Calif. security guard killed in smash-and-grab theft

- Daisy Nguyen

OAKLAND, Calif. – A security guard died after he was shot while he protected a San Francisco Bay Area television news crew covering a smash-andgrab theft, part of a rash of organized retail crime in the region.

“We are devastated by the loss of security guard and our friend, Kevin Nishita. Our deepest sympathy goes to Kevin’s wife, his children, his family, and to all his friends and colleagues,” KRON-TV’S vice president and general manager, Jim Rose, said in a statement issued Saturday.

Nishita was an armed guard for Star Protection Agency and provided security for television news crews in the region, who are often targeted by robbers for their equipment.

He was shot in the abdomen during an attempted robbery of KRON-TV’S camera equipment near downtown Oakland on Wednesday, police said.

The news crew was covering a recent robbery where a group of thieves broke in and stole from a clothing store.

A reward of $32,500 is being offered for informatio­n that leads to an arrest in Nishita’s killing.

Nishita was a police officer for the cities of Hayward, San Jose, Colma before retiring in 2018. The Alameda County Sheriff’s office said deputies escorted his body from the hospital with full law enforcemen­t honors.

“This senseless loss of life is due to yet another violent criminal act in the Bay Area. We hope that offering a reward will help lead to the arrest of those responsibl­e so they can face justice for this terrible tragedy,” Rose said.

The region has been struck by organized retail thefts in which bands of thieves, some carrying crowbars and hammers, break into high-end stores and snatch merchandis­e.

Similar thefts have been reported in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills and elsewhere in the country.

At least eight thieves stormed a Home Depot store in Lakewood on Black Friday and grabbed hammers, crowbars and sledgehamm­ers in the tool section before dashing off in a getaway vehicle, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said.

Four people who may have participat­ed in the Home Depot theft were later arrested in Beverly Hills after officers stopped two cars that were part of a caravan of vehicles driving around the city’s business district, police Lt. Giovanni Trejo said. A bystander called police after seeing that some of the vehicles did not display license plates, he said.

Meantime, police in Los Angeles arrested three people suspected of storming a designer clothing store on Melrose Place after stopping a vehicle and seeing clothes in plain view, said LAPD Officer Mike Lopez. He said more than 10 people ransacked another store on La Brea Avenue.

The thefts are believed to be part of sophistica­ted criminal networks that recruit people to steal merchandis­e in stores throughout the country and then sell it online. Experts and law enforcemen­t officials say the thefts are ratcheting up as the holiday shopping season gets underway.

 ?? BRANDON VACCARO/AP ?? Officer Kevin Nishita, a retired police officer and armed guard who provided security for many reporters in the Bay Area, was shot in the abdomen during an attempted robbery of KRON-TV’S camera equipment in Oakland, Calif., on Wednesday.
BRANDON VACCARO/AP Officer Kevin Nishita, a retired police officer and armed guard who provided security for many reporters in the Bay Area, was shot in the abdomen during an attempted robbery of KRON-TV’S camera equipment in Oakland, Calif., on Wednesday.

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