Detectives are seeking the public’s help in identifying a man captured on video as a group of transgender women were harassed and robbed on Hollywood Boulevard this week, officials said Tuesday.
Three individuals “zeroed in” on the women and committed various crimes against them around 2:15 a.m. Monday in an incident being investigated as a hate crime, said Los Angeles police Capt. Steve Lurie.
But in a news release Tuesday, the L.A. Police Department said only one suspect was being sought in the crime. The agency released a photo of the man in hopes of tracking him down.
LAPD says he approached the victims and offered to buy them things from a shop on the 6500 block of Hollywood Boulevard. But he then refused to pay for the merchandise, and the victims left.
The same man saw the victims later and approached one of them with a metal bar, demanding her shoes and bracelet, and she handed them over out of fear. The assailant then grabbed her by the hand and led her away, though she was able to escape, according to police.
The victims say their purses, cellphones and money were also taken.
The attacker made “horrible, derogatory remarks” about the woman’s gender expression during the robbery, Lurie said.
The same man is also accused of assaulting a second woman with a bottle and knocking her to the ground, authorities said.
A woman who reached out to KTLA and identified herself as a friend of the victims’ said one of the women was hit with an object that split the back of her head open, causing her to lose consciousness.
Several people recorded videos of the attack and uploaded them to social media, showing bystanders watching and laughing as the victims’ plead for help. The footage is now being investigated as evidence in the case.
At one point a police car approaches with sirens blaring and some involved believe officers will intervene, but the car drives past the scene. Lurie said LAPD is conducting an internal investigation into that matter.
“It appears, from a preliminary look, that that black-and-white was headed to an unrelated emergency call nearby,” the captain said. “It’s possible they had no idea what was happening there. It was a busy night on the boulevard, there were lots of small groups and crowds of people.”
Lurie said investigators also want to speak with those who witnessed and filmed the attack.
The man being sought in the robbery is a Black man believed to be around 25 years old with black hair and brown eyes. He measures around 6 feet tall and weighs about 180 pounds, LAPD said.
At the time of the attack, he was wearing a black tank top with black shorts.
Anyone with information can contact Detective Stogner at 213-972-2934, or call 877-527-3247 after normal business hours. Anonymous tips may be submitted via 800-222-8477 or www.lacrimestoppers.org.