After a number of brazen robberies last month made retailers and shoppers in the Los Angeles area nervous, officials announced Thursday that they had arrested 14 suspects linked to the crimes.
Mayor Eric Garcetti and Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore, as well as other officials and members of the business community at LAPD headquarters, said none of the 14 suspects are still in custody.
One of the suspects is a teenager, said Moore. The others either bailed or were released without bail.
The boss referred to a zero-bail policy put in place last year for certain crimes, including burglary, as a public health measure to reduce prison populations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There are criminal elements who recognize this condition and capitalize on it,” said Moore.
As an example, he cited one of the incidents – the November 23 robbery of a Nordstrom department store in Grove Shopping Center in Fairfax.
Three suspects were arrested after the robbery and car chase in South Los Angeles, police said. One was a youth; two adult suspects have previous convictions and have been released on bail.
Garcetti said the community needed the help of the criminal justice system, judges and prison guards.
“There are people who have to be behind bars,” he said. “We opened much of the city because we are in a better place with COVID. We should also be able to open our prisons, and we should be able to have judges who also put people behind those bars. “
Trying to reassure the public that malls and malls are safe places to shop during the holiday season, the mayor said the police have his full support and that of the city council and are being provided with the resources they need to stop the robberies break up.
Following the break-in in Nordstrom, Moore told the city’s civilian police commission that he was stepping up patrols around high-end retailers. Days later, police went on tactical alert throughout the city on Black Friday evening in response to the series of robberies and lifted the alarm at 2 a.m. on Saturday.
During Thursday’s press conference, Garcetti urged the public to be more aware of their surroundings and spend less time on their phones, saying he and other officials wanted to strike a balance between calling for public vigilance and causing panic.
“We haven’t seen that too often,” Garcetti said of the raids. “It’s such a brazen and brazen crime. It hits the heart of what we think a city should be. “
Moore said reports of smash-and-grab robberies had come in from cities like New York, Chicago and San Francisco in early November.
“These crimes were characterized by the fact that several suspects worked together and coordinated cases that included the destruction of property, attacks on shop workers and caravans with vehicles parked in close proximity to high-end retail stores,” the chief said.
Moore said he reached out to his colleagues in these cities to get a feel for the dynamics of where and how the crimes took place and how those police departments reacted.
“Unfortunately, that landed on our doorstep on November 18, when the first incident of a robbery occurred on the Ksubi clothing store in the Wilshire Division in South La Brea,” said the boss. “Your loss of property was $ 10,000. The suspects involved in this incident are still pending. ”
From November 18-28, Los Angeles police would respond to 11 robberies, Moore said.
Of the eleven incidents, six occurred on the Westside, he said. Four occurred in the San Fernando Valley and one in South Los Angeles.
The incidents were categorized as four robberies, six break-ins and one major theft, Moore said.
What is noticeable about this small number of crimes was the amount of property that was stolen: in these eleven cases, $ 338,000 was stolen from property and more than $ 40,000 worth of property damage, ”he said .
Moore said police believe the goods will be resold and marketed to unscrupulous buyers.
“The chain of responsibility extends to the buyer who is willing to pay a discounted price to close a deal,” he said, adding that officials use phone interviews and search warrants to find out where people are selling the material.
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