Los Angeles police are looking for robbery suspects and a man who allegedly impersonated an officer during three separate incidents at two Chinatown jewelry stores Tuesday.
The first incident occurred about 11:30 a.m. at a store in the 800 block of North Broadway. Two men entered the store and asked to look at pieces of jewelry. As one of the men was engaging the clerk, the other man ran out of the store with a gold chain after alerting the second man. The second man paused before also running out of the store, video of the incident shows.
The first man, who was wearing a cap, sunglasses and a red polo shirt, was able to get away. He is described as being 6 feet tall and weighs about 190 pounds. The second man, seen wearing a black hoodie, was taken into custody by an LAPD officer who was heading to Elysian Park, Lt. Kenneth Scott said.
The suspect, identified as Gerald Roberts, 19, has been cooperative in the investigation.
About 3:45 p.m. a man claiming to be an LAPD officer went to the store and asked the same clerk who was there during the robbery for a piece of jewelry similar to the one that was stolen. The skeptical jeweler asked the man for a business card, which the man provided, Scott said. The business card said “Detective Chris Davis” on it. Ultimately, the jeweler told the man he’d get back to him about the incident, and instead alerted LAPD about the encounter, Scott said.
The man is seen in video wearing Dodgers attire and had an official-looking badge and handcuffs clipped to his left hip, police said. He is described as being in his 20s about 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighs about 180 pounds.
Scott said that in his years of working in law enforcement, he has never seen a person impersonate a police officer at a crime scene just hours after a crime occurred.
“We’re coming for you, we’re looking for you,” Scott said of the man who claimed to be an officer. He said the man must have had knowledge of the first robbery and was trying to get away with more goods.
“When you do things that are out of the character of the Los Angeles Police Department, it shines a bad light upon us,” the lieutenant said.
In between those two incidents, about 2:50 p.m., an attempted robbery took place at another store along the same block.
In that incident, three men pulled up in a red Mustang and two passengers got out, video released by police shows. The men were armed with what appeared to be a black semi-automatic rifle and a hammer, Scott said.
The jeweler saw the men and quickly locked the door to his store. The men hit the door with the weapons, but were unable to get inside, Scott said. They eventually got back in the car and the driver took off, but not before getting into a crash with a ride-share vehicle that tried to follow the Mustang. The suspects ended up driving south and out of the area, Scott said.
Both passengers were described as being in their 20s, about 5 feet 3 inches tall and weighing about 150 pounds. The driver was not seen.
Scott said investigators are trying to find the suspects to ensure the safety of the businesses and residents in the area. He added that it does not appear that the robbery and attempted robbery are related.
Scott said investigators also hope to recover the stolen item, but that it might have already been melted down for the gold.
Anyone with information about any of the incidents can call 213-996-1860 or 213-996-1877.