Investigators released surveillance video Monday as they work to identify a man who threatened a Best Buy employee with a knife and pepper spray while stealing from the retail chain's location in Sawtelle last week.
The armed robbery was captured on cameras inside and outside the store at 11301 W. Pico Blvd. around 7:45 p.m. last Thursday, Sept. 5, Los Angeles police said in a news release.
The thief walked into the Best Buy pushing a shopping cart that he proceeded to load with several items, officers said.
Police say security guards immediately recognized the man, with whom they've had previous encounters. But it was unclear whether the guards were monitoring his activity.
The man took his cart to the cellphone sales counter, where he told an associate he wanted to buy two iPhones. The video shows the worker put two phones on the counter, which the robber promptly grabs and stuffs into a brown leather tote he was carrying before making a bee-line for the exit.
The associate chased the man down and tried to stop him before he got out the doors. But as they struggled over the bag, the suspect dragged the employee outside the store and into the parking lot.
After they wrestled a bit, the suspect brandished a knife, then pulled pepper spray out of his bag and pointed it at the employee, police say.
At that point, the associate decided to retreat.
The suspect ran across the parking lot and was last seen heading north on Corinth Avenue.
Detectives describe the robber as a black man in his late 20s or early 30s with black hair, measuring around 5 feet, 7 inches tall and weighing about 180 pounds.
At the time of the crime, he was wearing a white, short-sleeved, button-down shirt and black from the waist down — black pants, black shoes and black belt with multiple large holes, officers say.
Anyone with information can contact LAPD's West L.A. area detectives at 310-444-1580, or call 877-527-3247 after normal business hours. Anonymous tips may be submitted via 800-222-8477 or www.lacrimestoppers.org.