Los Angeles: Yesterday evening, June 17, 2015 at around 6:15 p.m., Olympic Area units responded to robbery in progress call at the St. Cross Jewelry store inside the Korean Town Center Mall, located at 928 S. Western Avenue.
When the officers’ arrived, the suspects had already left the location. The investigation revealed that approximately nine male suspects had violently and with coordinated precision and speed, overpowered employees and took over the store to rob it of its loot of several hundred expensive designer watches.
The suspects were armed with handguns, and sledge hammers. After overpowering employees and holding them at gunpoint, the suspects proceeded to smash the display cases with the sledge hammers and removed the watches. Within a couple of minutes the suspects were done with their operation and exited the store to a waiting getaway van. From video images inside the store as well as witness accounts, and the fact that the store was inside a mall filled with shoppers, it was obvious this was a well-planned, coordinated and practiced operation.
Olympic Area Robbery detectives responded to the crime scene and took over the investigation and have been working on this case relentlessly since the occurrence. Their coordinated efforts utilizing Olympic Area officers and assistance from Air Support Division, led investigators to a number of locations within the City of Los Angeles and other nearby cities.
Olympic Area officers were able to take two suspects into custody in the City of Covina after a GPS tracking device embedded in the watches, was tracked to a vehicle that was on the move in that city.
After a number of follow-up investigative steps, detectives identified several locations where the other suspects were hiding, and eight additional suspects, including five juveniles were taken into custody overnight. Officers recovered three firearms, and a number of sledge hammers used in the crime. To the delight of the storeowners, officers also recovered several hundred expensive designer watches that were taken during the robbery.
Although this sounds like the plot of a Hollywood movie, in reality this was a violent and dangerous crime that could have had disastrous results. There were no serious injuries reported during this incident.
Detectives from Olympic Area are working to complete the case and will coordinate with the County District Attorney’s Office to file several felony charges against each of the suspects in custody.
Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact Olympic Area detectives at (213) 382-9380. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (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 LAPDOnline.org, click on “webtips” and follow the prompts.