The Los Angeles Police Department released a statement Wednesday saying gangs are to blame for a recent crime wave targeting the rich and famous. In many cases, they’re making off with designer handbags, diamond-studded watches and other items worth tens of thousands of dollars — if not more — and then peddling them to black-market buyers who are willing to turn a blind eye to the underlying violence, police said.
The LAPD says at least 17 gangs have been linked to seeking out potential targets, looking for folks wearing expensive jewelry and driving luxury cars as reported by the Los Angeles Times.
In some cases, police determined that gang members inside high-end venues served as “spotters” for those outside, Capt. Jonathan Tippet told the LATimes, alerting them when wealthy targets were heading out.
Shots have been fired in 23 cases, and two victims have been killed, said Tippet, who also heads the LAPD’s Robbery-Homicide Division, which investigates high-profile crimes.
“In my 34 years on the job, I’ve never seen anything like this,” he said.
The area with the most robberies during that time was the LAPD’s Hollywood Division, with 50, followed by 46 in the Wilshire Division and 40 in the Central Division, which includes downtown. The Pacific Division had 17, West L.A. 15, North Hollywood 14 and Topanga 11.