DAVIS (CBS13) – Thieves sent local retailers reeling after boldly ransacking stores in broad daylight right in front of customers.  Davis Police say two suspects hit three stores from Woodland to Davis Thursday before being caught on the interstate.

“The people that are doing this are traveling up and down the interstate and hitting different cities,” said Deputy Chief Paul Doroshov.  “I think from a law enforcement perspective we really need to work together. I think CHP building a task force is a step in the right direction.”

One of the stores hit, the CVS off Covell Blvd., was hit less than two weeks ago.  Now, several from law enforcement to District Attorneys and retailers are scrambling for solutions. The smash-and-grab thieves have shown no shame, with surveillance video showing four suspects filling duffel bags at CVS and then walking out.

CEOs of multiple retailers signed a letter to Congress Thursday calling for legislation to stop criminals from easily re-selling stolen merchandise, especially online. Rachel Michelin, President of the California Retailers Association, is taking it in a different direction.  She’s pushing for diversion programs for the juveniles, homeless, and drug addicts being lured into these organized crime rings.

“We would rather have someone work for us than steal from us.  So we want to do whatever we can to help those vulnerable populations be victimized as they are,” said Michelin.

There’s a desperate search for solutions as thieves step up their game.

“The last couple of weeks around Thanksgiving took this to a whole new level.  It’s like nothing we’ve ever seen before,” said Michelin.

Doroshov says the thefts have ranged from $1,000 to $15,000 in stolen items.

“If you start expanding that statewide, you can only imagine.  And that cost is being passed down to the consumer.  And this time around the holidays we’re paying more partially because of this,” said Doroshov.