Suspect Arrested Months After Explosives Threat Forced Lockdown of Santa Monica Neighborhood

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A monthslong manhunt for a suspect who threatened to use explosives in an attempted Santa Monica jewelry store heist has ended in an arrest, police said Wednesday.

Robert Art Abalov is seen in a booking photo released May 30, 2018, by the Santa Monica Police Department.
Robert Art Abalov is seen in a booking photo released May 30, 2018, by the Santa Monica Police Department.

Robert Art Abalov, 32, was found and arrested Tuesday in West Lost Angeles, just over three months after he allegedly entered Curated Los Angeles at 1603 Montana Ave. with a fake bomb in an attempt to rob the boutique, prompting a lockdown of the neighborhood north of the popular shopping street, the Santa Monica Police Department said in a news release.

After Abalov left the store without any merchandise in the Feb. 28 incident, he got into his SUV and fled, crashing into several parked cars along the 300 block of 15th Street in the process, officers said.

One of the vehicles he struck was occupied, and the person inside was injured, according to police.

Abalov then allegedly got out of his SUV and ran into the neighborhood, leaving the device he had threatened one of the jewelry store employees with by the car.

Residents were ordered to stay indoors as officers spent hours searching the area between 14th and 16th streets to the west and east, and San Vicente Boulevard and Margarita Avenue to the north and south. Though some reported seeing a man jumping fences and traversing their yards, investigators were unable to capture any suspects that night.

The suspicious device, however, was recovered and later tested. Authorities have since determined it was not, in fact, a deadly explosive.

Officials have not released details on how exactly Abalov was eventually found, but they said he was arrested on a warrant for charges of criminal threats malicious possession of a false bomb with the intent to cause fear, false imprisonment, hit and run collision causing injury and grand theft.

He was taken into custody around 7:50 p.m. Tuesday and was being held on $170,000 bail, inmate records show.

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