Van Crews Botched Robbery, Caught on Tape

September 9, 2010

Los Angeles:  LAPD detectives released video today of a 6-man robbery crew who beat a clothing wholesaler on August 30, 2010 in an attempt to rob him of his merchandise in the Fashion District.  The crime was caught on video tape from the alley and the business.

“We think this crew is responsible for other cargo thefts in the Fashion District,” said Lt. Paul Vernon, commanding officer of the Central Detective Division.  “We’ve been looking for suspects in a white van who steal merchandise from wholesalers’ delivery vans on the street.  If the same crew, it appears they’ve escalated their crime to armed robbery.”

Around 6:35 PM, the owner of Fashion 2000 was unloading his van behind his business, which is adjacent to an alley behind 124 E. 11th Street.  Four Hispanic men approached him, grabbed him and forced him into the business, where another employee was working inside.  Two of the suspect ripped the shirt off the victim’s back and struggled with him for some time.

“The struggle spills out into the parking lot again, with the victim fighting for his life against two men,” Lt. Vernon explained.  “Another suspect runs from the business, holding a gun.  He returns a moment later and tells a fourth accomplice inside, who is pistol whipping an employee, that it’s time to go.”

Surveillance video showed the planning involved in this botched robbery.  A silver Nissan Altima cruises the alley before the robbery.  A white Ford cargo van pulls in behind the business and several men get out.  The van and sedan disappear, and moments later, four men can be seen running down the alley: one wearing a red shirt; one in a dark green shirt, who was armed with the gun; one with a green-striped shirt, also armed with a gun; and one in a long-sleeve shirt.  The suspect in the dark green shirt has distinctive large ears.

“We are trying to enhance the license plates of the vehicles to help identify them, but the public can save us a lot of time by telling us who these guys are,” Lt. Vernon added.  “The suspects got away with nothing but their freedom, but we’d like to take that away from them now.”

The business owner was not seriously injured.  His employee was hospitalized for several days.  

Anyone with information on this crime is urged to call Detective Al Rasch, Central Robbery Unit, at 213-972-1245.  Anonymous tips can be called into Crimestoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477), or by texting 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S) with a cell phone.  All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.”  Online tips may be placed at, click on “webtips” and follow the prompts.

Video of the crime is available for viewing at the Central Police Station.