LAPD to release photos of additional Hollywood robbery suspects
Los Angeles police announced Wednesday plans to release photos taken along camera-concentrated Hollywood Boulevard in hopes of tracking down additional suspects in a two-hour robbery rampage the night before.
At a Wednesday morning news conference on the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue, LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith said investigators hope the public can help identify and locate the fugitive suspects.
A dozen people--all juveniles except one 18-year-old--were taken into custody Tuesday out of a group police said could include as many as 50 suspects.
“The number of cameras in Hollywood is one of the most dense camera areas that we have in the city,” Smith said. “Virtually every store up and down all of these streets here have a camera system and were able to go back and access them.”
The goal, the commander said, is to “bring the rest of these folks to justice.”
Los Angeles police flooded the stretch of Hollywood Boulevard Tuesday night after receiving 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.
The robbers knocked down tourists and grabbed their phones, and stole souvenirs and food from stores, officials said. In at least one incident, they hauled off a cash register from a business.
A massive cat-and-mouse game ensued, with police and media helicopters hovering overhead. About half a dozen suspects 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 weapons were recovered.
Authorities said they expect additional victims to call police in coming days, likely connecting the dozen in custody to additional robberies.
Investigators are looking into whether the event was organized or promoted via Twitter, as well as whether the group was made up of some of the same youths who attacked people and vandalized stores in the Crenshaw district earlier this week, when demonstrators protested the George Zimmerman murder trial verdict.
After Monday’s protests, LAPD deployed hundreds of officers to monitor Tuesday’s demonstrations in downtown and Leimert Park. Smith said the robbery suspects may have recognized LAPD’s attention would be shifted to South Los Angeles.
“What we’re thinking is these youngsters took advantage of our redeployment of officers,” he said.
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