Los Angeles leaders urge public not to fear shopping amid recent smash-and-grab attacks – Daily Breeze

Seeking to quell growing public concern amid a surge in “smash-and grab” robberies, authorities in Los Angeles announced Thursday that 14 people have been arrested in connection with 11 such robberies from North Hollywood to South Los Angeles in recent weeks.

The suspects all have been released, either due to their age, posting bail or zero bail policies, Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said when he joined Los Angeles city leaders and FBI officials near City Hall to discuss the recent “smash-and-grab” robberies throughout the region.

Moore, Mayor Eric Garcetti and Kristi Johnson, the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, also gathered to discuss the safety measures the public can take to prevent future attacks on Southern California’s business community.

The press conference Thursday came on the heels of 11 robberies and the arrests of 14 individuals who are believed to be connected to the thefts that received an extensive amount of recent media coverage, Moore explained from the lectern.

At least three of the arrests were announced previously, all involving the smash-and-grab robbery by a mob of at least 20 people at the Nordstrom store at The Grove, the upscale shopping center in the Fairfax district, on Nov. 22.

Two suspects were arrested following a similar robbery that occurred at a cellular phone warehouse in North Hollywood on Nov. 21 where more than $100,000 worth of property was stolen, Moore said. In total, six burglaries, four robberies and one grand theft took place between Nov. 18 and Sunday.

Several suspects worked in tandem to steal from various stores, sometimes employing force and intimidation to overwhelm employees during the crimes, Moore said. It’s not currently known if any of the robberies are connected.

Southern California is not alone in the situation, though, according to the chief, who highlighted how cities throughout California have experienced a rash of attempted robberies since the start of November.

“What’s striking in that small number of crimes was the amount of property that was stolen,” Moore said. In total, more than $338,000 dollars of goods had been stolen and $40,000 in property damage had been dealt in the attacks on The Grove, the Westfield Topanga Mall the Beverly Center and other popular retail areas

And while all who have been arrested by LAPD in connection with the events are now out of custody, Moore said, the county’s no-bail system hasn’t deterred LAPD from chasing further leads and instituting new tactics to address the situation.

“We’re not allowing or tolerating this type of bold and reckless actions,” Moore said, promising those involved will face consequences for their actions.

“The message again to the bad guys is we will find you, we will arrest you, and we will prosecute you,” Garcetti added before Johnson was introduced.

Kristi Koons Johnson, Assistant Director in Charge of the Los Angeles Field Office for the FBI speaks as Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, center, and LAPD Chief Michel Moore, right, looks on ] during a news conference to announce arrests in connection with recent smash-and-grab robberies, and to provide safety measures and prevention tips at the LAPD Headquarters in Los Angeles on Thursday, December 2, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

Like Garcetti, Johnson encouraged businesses and local residents to not fear heading out to go shopping.

“This disturbing trend cannot continue and we will do everything in our power,” Johnson said, to ensure the LAPD is supported in their efforts to apprehend individuals in the community who look to exploit others.

“We have had success in prosecuting these types of crimes on the federal level in the past,” Johnson said, explaining officials intend to do the same now and are offering reward money that leads to arrest.

Anybody with information is encouraged to contact 1-877-ASK-LAPD, according to Johnson.

Garcetti commended the work of Johnson and Moore in providing their employees with tools to track down the small population of Angelenos responsible for the attacks because, he said, the impact on the larger population cannot be understated.

“I understand how unsettling it can be to pick up the newspaper or to turn on the TV to hear the descriptions or watch the videos,” Garcetti said, advising the public that, despite the string of robberies and recent killing of Jacqueline Avant during a Beverly Hills home invasion, crime statistics indicate Angelenos are  probably in the safest decade of our lifetimes.”

“I’m always careful when I say that because it means nothing if you’re a member of the Avant family or a member of a family that was attacked today,” Garcetti said. “We never want to dismiss that, but we also don’t want it blow up where everybody thinks that suddenly we’re seeing statistics that are way beyond what they actual numbers are.”

Garcetti recognized the situation is “not something we’ve seen too often.” No matter, he encouraged the public to rest easy knowing officers will be out in the streets ensuring that it’s safe for families to frequent shopping areas.

“So then,” he added, “you can enjoy a holiday season.”

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