By  on February 4, 2010

Thieves drove a stolen van into a Nordstrom store at Perimeter Mall near Atlanta early Monday and fled with armloads of premium denim valued at $13,000, police said.

It was the second time in recent months that the mall — owned by General Growth Properties Inc. and located in Dunwoody, Ga., about 20 miles north of Atlanta — has been victimized by denim thieves. In October, robbers took an estimated $17,000 in premium denim from Bloomingdale’s.

The Dodge Caravan crashed into one of the store’s exterior entrances about 6 a.m., and three men grabbed 87 pairs of jeans. They left the van behind and escaped on foot.

It was unclear whether the latest robbery could be linked to the Blue Jean Bandits, a gang that has stolen more than $1.5 million in premium denim from some 70 Atlanta-area stores since 2007, said Detective Robert Bentivegna of the Dunwoody Police Department. The heists began as after-hours smash-and-grabs and escalated to brazen armed robberies during the day.

Nordstrom was open on Monday. A spokeswoman for the Seattle-based retailer said the damaged portion of the store’s exterior was roped off, and foot traffic was rerouted to a valet entrance nearby.

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