Celebrities among those targeted in spate of follow-home robberies, LAPD says
A crew of masked robbers tracked actor and former BET host Terrence Jenkins to his Sherman Oaks home early Wednesday and attempted to block him in with an SUV, but he was able to flee in his car as shots were fired.
Authorities say it’s the latest in a series of follow-home robberies. Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore warned that his department has seen a spike in such crimes in recent weeks in more affluent areas of the Westside.
Among those targeted in recent weeks was “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star Dorit Kemsley’s Encino mansion, where masked robbers made off with as much as $1 million in valuables. Detectives believe she was followed to her home before two men smashed their way into the house.
LAPD Capt. Jonathan Tippet, who oversees the Robbery Homicide Division, said investigators believe multiple robbery crews are behind the series of crimes in the last few weeks.
It was unclear how many follow-home robberies there have been and how many crews are involved. LAPD crime statistics show that citywide robberies in 2021 are only up 1.9% compared to 2020 and more than 15% down from in 2019.
But at least two cases involving celebrities have generated media attention.
Shortly before 3 a.m., Jenkins and a passenger in his car were surrounded by the masked bandits, and one of them ordered the actor out of the car at gunpoint, police said.
Jenkins managed to evade the robbery crew’s sport utility vehicle, but one of the assailants began firing at his car, according to Los Angeles police. Jenkins was able to flag down a California Highway Patrol cruiser about a mile from his home, and the robbers fled.
LAPD officers immediately surrounded Jenkins’ home, and officers went through the home to make sure there were no robbers inside.
Tippet said it is too early to say who is behind it, but his detectives are working on identifying suspects.
“People need to be aware of the surroundings, especially leaving nightclubs, restaurants and what have you,” said LAPD Sgt. Hector Olivera.
“It seems that the suspects are targeting individuals [with] expensive jewelry, expensive cars and things of that nature.”
Investigators compared the new spate of burglaries to the trend of so-called knock-knock burglaries four years ago, in which assailants would knock on the front doors of wealthier residents and then enter if no one was home. Among the celebrity victims were former Dodger Yasiel Puig, ex-Laker Nick Young and Nicki Minaj.
Earlier this week, the LAPD put out a bulletin warning people of the crime trend they’re seeing, which they described as “follow-home robberies.”
The crews tend to watch those leaving upscale restaurants, bars, clubs and boutiques and follow the target home to rob them at gunpoint.
On Monday, LAPD detectives released a video of the two hooded and masked men breaking into the “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star’s home shortly before 11 p.m. Oct. 27. In the video, one of the men shatters a sliding-glass window.
Once inside, LAPD investigators say the men confronted the TV star. “Both suspects threatened to kill her as she pleaded for her life and the lives of her young children,” police said. “In fear for her safety, the victim complied with the suspects’ demands and directed them to valuables. The suspects took high-end handbags, jewelry and watches.”
to continue reading