North Hills: Detectives are asking the public’s help in identifying pictures of two of three suspects who robbed a North Hills cell phone store, March 21, 2014, making off with several Samsung and Apple smartphones.
“These guys are brazen and determined,” explained Lt. Paul Vernon, commanding officer of the Mission Detective Division. “They clearly had a plan, with one acting as a lookout and the other two cutting security cables.”
The after-market value and popularity of smartphones has led to them eclipsing money as the top thing crooks are looking for when committing thefts and robberies. Street robberies of cell phones are, in some weeks, more common that money robberies. “The demand and price of these phones makes them easy to sell second-hand online to people who want a deal and don’t care the item they are buying is stolen,” Lt. Vernon said. “Someone might pay $300 to $400 for a phone on Craigslist, but how many people are walking down the street with $300 cash in their hand. So stealing a smartphone out of someone’s hand or from a store is like stealing gold and just as easy to sell.”
Two of the three robbers’ faces were captured on cameras at the T-Mobile Store last March. While the men entered the store and went straight to cutting cables and taking the phones, they did not hesitate to simulate they had guns and threaten employees once confronted, making the crime a robbery. The two suspects pictured were wearing hoodies. All three were Black and in their mid 20s. They got away in a 90s model white Pontiac sedan.
Anyone with information on this crime is urged to call Det. Chris Rodriguez, Mission Robbery detectives, at (213) 838-9964. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (1-877-527-3247). Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should 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 keypads) with a cell phone. All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.” Tipsters may also go to www.lapdonline.org, and click on "Anonymous Web Tips.”