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1 Man, 9 Teens Charged in Robberies During Zimmerman Protests

LOS ANGELES (KTLA) — A man and nine teenagers are facing criminal charges in separate incidents that occurred during protests in Leimert Park and Hollywood, authorities said.

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A band of roaming robbers terrorized tourists in Hollywood on July 16, police said. (Courtesy: LA Weekly)

On July 13, Shareef Abdullah, 28, allegedly tried to steal video cameras belonging to two news crews that were covering a demonstration, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office.

The rally in the Leimert Park area had been sparked by the acquittal of George Zimmerman, the former neighborhood watch volunteer who shot and killed Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla.

Abdullah tried to steal a $7,000 camera belonging to Telemundo before he was chased away, prosecutors said. He allegedly returned later and grabbed the camera; a cameraman retrieved it after chasing Abdullah.

Later the same night, prosecutors said, Abdullah allegedly stole a video camera from a CBS cameraman after threatening to shoot him.

Abdullah was arrested July 16 and pleaded not guilty two days later. He was charged with attempted grand theft, robbery and making criminal threats. He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

Prosecutors have also announced charges against nine juveniles who allegedly committed multiple robberies as part of a “flash mob” in Hollywood.

Four 16-year-olds — three girls and two boys — and four 15-year-old boys are accused of robbing pedestrians near the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue. The stolen items included cell phones, a wallet and a skateboard, prosecutors said.

Los Angeles Police Department officials believe the crime spree was coordinated on social media sites.

The nine teenagers, who were not identified by name, pleaded not guilty on July 19. Four were released to their parents and five remain in custody, authorities said. All were scheduled to return to court in August.

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