Police have arrested two people suspected of being part of an organized crew behind a series of armed robberies targeting people wearing Rolex watches throughout the westside area of Los Angeles, officials said Friday.
Detectives noticed a pattern of robberies involving victims with high-end watches in Mar Vista, Venice, Mid-Wilshire, the Melrose Shopping District, Culver City, West Hollywood and Beverly Hills in recent weeks, the Los Angeles Police Department.
The two suspects were taken into custody on Thursday, and one Rolex watch was recovered and returned to its owner, LAPD said.
Police are still working to arrest additional suspects identified in the robberies. The department said it’s not identifying the suspects to not compromise the ongoing investigation.
LAPD has been warning of an increase in armed robberies, including along Melrose Avenue in the Fairfax district, where video from last month shows robbers rush out of their car and tackle a victim to the ground, hold him down and strike him while one brandishes what appears to be a handgun at him before they take his Rolex, wallet and necklace.
At the time, police noted at least seven other similar robberies, saying the robbers appeared to follow victims from the restaurants and stores that line Melrose, and wait for them to walk to their vehicles.
The robberies have riled the community, with some store owners along Melrose Avenue saying there’s been less foot traffic and more crime in the area.
In another incident in Beverly Hills, shots were fired at a popular Italian restaurant, striking a woman’s leg, before robbers got away with a customer’s high-end watch, worth up to $500,000.
Police are urging community members to be alert of their surroundings when outside, try to stay in well-lit areas, be careful when being stopped for directions and avoid walking alone at night in areas where there are few people.
Those who feel they’re being followed should try to get to a well-populated area.
And if confronted with a robber: “Don’t resist. Give up your property, don’t give up your life,” police said.
Anyone with information about this series of robberies is asked to contact Wilshire Robbery Detectives B. Romero and S. Villatoro at 213-922-8266.