Los Angeles: Los Angeles detectives have released video of a brazen, daylight robbery downtown, in which three Black men in red hoodies rush into a jewelry store, pepper spray the owner and smash the display cases, taking over $7,000 in costume jewelry.
“We’ve been seeing these smash-and-grabs occurring for several weeks,” said Lt. Paul Vernon, commanding officer of the Central Detective Division. “As you can see in the video, the use of pepper spray has become a common tactic.”
The robbery occurred at the 21st Century Jewelry store on July 22, must before 1 PM. The three suspects were 5’9” to 6’0” tall and 17 to 20 years old. They left in a white 4-door Toyota Camry with paper plates. Police have investigated seven similar robberies along Broadway since late June.
Detectives noted a similar pattern of robberies last summer as well, they and cite the price of gold as a prime motivator for the crimes.
The one commonality for all these crimes is the suspects are part of South Los Angeles gangs, though no one gang is directing or leading the spree. “We think that the word has gotten around that this is somehow easy money, but I’m here to tell everyone, we’ve put 13 people in jail over the last couple weeks and we’ll keep doing that until they realize the pickings aren’t so easy,” Lt. Vernon warned.
Detectives have noted a pattern of similar robberies across the southland. “We’ve have spoken to other agencies from Tustin to Corona to Inglewood,” Lt. Vernon added. Detectives have trained officers and business owners to be aware of signs of an impending robbery, based on: the number of persons in a car, suspicious persons looking around a store then leaving; how suspects are dressed; obscured car license plates; and tools, like hammers. Police arrested one crew of four men two weeks ago before they could commit the robbery. They were booked on conspiracy charges.
Anyone with information on this crime is urged to call Central Detectives at 213-972-1251. During non-business hours or weekends, calls may be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7. Anyone wishing to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800)-222-8477). Tipsters may also contact Crime Stoppers by texting to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most key pads) using a cell phone. All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.” Tipsters can also go to LAPDOnline.org, click on “web tips” and follow the prompts.
Video is available for viewing at Central Police station and at www.lapdtv.org