A clothing store in Beverly Hills, Calif., has banned face masks due to difficulties identifying robbery suspects.

Kitson’s employees said they noticed an increasing number of people coming to the store looking to shoplift while wearing face masks, KTLA reported. Some people also wore masks to the store while harassing or assaulting others.

“The mask mandate may have started as a health precaution, but we believe it is now being used by some people for nefarious purposes. To that end, we enacted our own mandate of sorts,” Fraser Ross said in a statement, according to KTTV in Los Angeles. “We do not allow masks to be worn in the store during normal business hours.”

Mr Fraser added that people who want to wear masks can book an appointment for a “personal shopping experience” or can shop online.

The masks hampered the store’s ability to describe suspects when reporting crimes to police.

“We certainly have security guards in all our stores and we have installed high security cameras, but [the mask] covers their face, the most important part of their face that we have to use when we show the font,” sales associate Santos Hemenway told KTTV.

Mr Hemenway said a series of robberies at other nearby shops had forced some to close.