Compton residents say they have had enough of the escalating crime and violence in their city after three street takeovers in one night were followed by hundreds of people swarming an Arco gas station, trashing the store and stealing thousands of dollars in merchandise.
A total of six businesses were targeted over the weekend in Compton in what authorities called “flashmob” style incidents.
Surveillance video showed two men in masks break in the front door of Birrieria Gonzalez, a Mexican restaurant on Rosecrans Avenue and Beach Boulevard. The suspects headed straight to the cash register and take what they can before a third suspect is seen running into the business.
A cook at the restaurant named Eduardo Zarate told KTLA that it’s not the first time Birrieria Gonzalez has been hit by thieves on a weekend, and this time around another restaurant in the strip mall was also burglarized.
Zarate said the break ins happened after 1 a.m. as street takeovers were happening throughout the area.
The largest gathering was near the intersection of Alondra Boulevard and Central Avenue. That’s where a mob swarmed an Arco gas station at around 2 a.m.
Surveillance footage of that incident shows some looters with their faces covered, while others did not bother to hide their identity as they ransacked the store, grabbing everything from alcohol to condoms.
Officials with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said thousands of dollars in merchandise was stolen, and that shots were fired about a block away, though no one was injured.
“It does piss me off a lot,” Arco customer Pam Sebastian told KTLA. “Why would you do that?”
An hour before the Arco looting, a bunch of people raided a 7-Eleven store on Lakewood and Somerset boulevards in Paramount, the sight of yet another nearby street takeover. The owner of that store was also out thousands of dollars.
“I feel bad for these people,” Sebastian said. “I’ve been coming here since I was 13.”
So far, authorities have not made any arrests, but urge anyone with information about these incidents to contact the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department.