Police: Face Coverings Helping Thieves Blend In, Fueling Crimes Of Opportunity Like Beverly Hills Robbery – CBS Los Angeles
BEVERLY HILLS (CBSLA) – It’s a new look at a brazen robbery in Beverly Hills as nearby security video shows what appears to be one of the robbers tumbling into the street as shots are fired as diners scramble to safety.
It was a full house at Il Pastaio the day after a thief put a gun to a diner’s head and snatched a $500,000 watch off his arm in broad daylight.
A nearby diner was struck by gunfire.
But it’s not just Beverly Hills: the world heard Lady Gaga’s dog walker scream for help when he was shot and her pups stolen.
And a man was tackled for his Rolex watch on Melrose in Mid-Wilshire a few weeks ago, one of 7 Rolex robberies in that area in a matter of days.
LAPD Capt. Steve Lurie says crimes of opportunity are rising all over the area. He says the pandemic has forced everyone outside, making us easier prey – and with masks on, thieves can blend in.
“If I’m someone who’s decided to steal, say, your watch, and I’m right on the curb and walk by and scan for expensive jewelry, it’s more obvious,” he said. “It’s not unusual now for someone in public to be hiding their identity and that helps a criminal remain anonymous.”
In Hollywood, Lure says car thefts have doubled so far this year compared to last year. But again, he says they appear to be crimes of opportunity.
“Half of the vehicles stolen in Hollywood have a key fob inside the vehicle when they’re stolen,” Lurie added.
So although little could have been done to prevent the crime in Beverly Hills, officers say it’s important for us all to remember that crime happens everywhere and we need to stay alert to stay safe.
Still, some residents were shaken by the violence.
“I’ve never seen Los Angeles or Beverly Hills like this,” said Nick Eskandari of Beverly Hills. “It’s scary.”
“I’m shocked! That a woman would get shot in the middle of the afternoon is absolutely unacceptable,” business owner Joyce Partise said.
As for the watch theft here in Beverly Hills, it’s not clear yet if it’s connected to the watch thefts elsewhere but the Beverly Hills police department has been very visible as they try and identify the three men involved in this crime.