Police are scouring social media in their investigation of a roving band of youths that hit Hollywood Boulevard in a two-hour robbery rampage, according to multiple sources familiar with the investigation.
Investigators are examining whether Tuesday night's events were planned or promoted via Twitter, the sources said.
Police believe at least 40 people were involved in the rampage, which prompted at least eight robbery calls beginning about 8:30 p.m. Many suspects were apprehended in minutes, but others took off running down Hollywood streets, splintering into smaller groups and later regrouping.
Los Angeles police flooded the area and after a massive cat-and-mouse game, eventually took a total of 12 suspects into custody, all but one whom were juveniles.
About half a dozen were arrested in the 6300 block of Hollywood Boulevard and another group was caught at Romaine Street and Western Avenue, police told The Times.
Officials described the incidents as strong-arm robberies--where the suspects threatened the use of a weapon--but said there were no immediate reports that any were recovered.
Authorities said they expect additional victims to call police in coming days, likely connecting the dozen in custody to additional robberies.
LAPD officials have promised to increase its patrols in the area, a deployment which was heightened after a transient allegedly stabbed a Lynwood woman to death last month.
Investigators are also looking into whether the group was made up of some of the same youths who were attacking people and vandalizing stores in the Crenshaw district earlier this week, when demonstrators protested the George Zimmerman murder trial verdict.
The thieves moved fast and swarmed their victims, mirroring the activity seen in Crenshaw the previous evening.
A news conference was scheduled for 11 a.m. Wednesday, when LAPD Chief Charlie Beck and other officials were expected to speak about the robberies.