Over a dozen street gangs in Los Angeles have set their sights on wealthy residents in the city as part of a disturbing, violent robbery pattern that has victimized hundreds of people, police said Tuesday.
At least 17 street gangs based mostly in South Central Los Angeles had staged more than 200 strong-arm robberies in the past 15 months, with five occurring this week, police said.
“In my 34 years in the LAPD, I have never seen this type of [coordinated] criminal behavior,” said LAPD Capt. Jonathan Tippet, leader of a “follow-home robbery” task force.
The criminal’s often used spotters to track people wearing high-end watches or driving expensive cars in the city’s upscale neighborhoods. The crooks then have associates follow the targets to steal their jewelry, handbags or cars, Tippet said.
“We have seen countless individuals traumatized by having a gun pointed at them,” he added.
“Many others are dealing with the trauma and injuries from being tackled, kicked, beaten, punched and are pistol-whipped to the head.”
LAPD said at least 17 street gangs have staged more than 200 strong-arm robberies in the past 15 months.AP/Damian Dovarganes
Police are warning people that wearing expensive jewelry in public could make them a target for thieves.AP/Richard Vogel
On Monday, a woman was hit by a robber’s car when she tried to run off after they smashed her vehicle window while stopped at a red light.
The thieves made off with her Rolex after she tossed it in the street, security footage showed.
In another instance, a suspect was arrested for allegedly taking two watches worth $600,000 from a targeted victim, according to authorities.
The robberies are often violent, with some victims being pistol-whipped.AP/Damian Dovarganes
Thirteen victims had been shot in “follow-home robberies” since the start of last year, and two of them were killed, officials said.
Many of the attacks took place in the city’s Jewelry District and the LAPD’s Hollywood and Wilshire Divisions, according to police.
Several dozen people had been arrested by the task force for robbery, weapons crimes, attempted murder and suspicion of murder, officials said.
With Post wires
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