Investigators are searching for at least two men believed to be behind an increase in armed robberies targeting pedestrians shopping and dining along Melrose Avenue in the Fairfax district, officials said Monday.
The robbers were captured by a security camera as they attacked a man walking just north of Melrose in the 700 block of North Vista Street and took his Rolex around 4 p.m. on Jan. 30, the Los Angeles Police Department said in a news release.
The video shows the robbers rush out of their car and tackling the victim to the ground. One of the men holds the victim down and strikes him while the other brandishes what appears to be a handgun at him.
One man is seen taking the victim’s Rolex off his wrist, while the other takes his wallet and other items from his pocket. They also made the man take off his necklace and hand it over.
Since then, LAPD has seen an increase in reports of people being robbed at gunpoint along the Melrose corridor, including seven incidents in which Rolex watches were stolen. The thieves are also targeting people with other high-end jewelry, officials say.
The robbers appear to follow victims from the restaurants and stores that line Melrose. Like others, the man assaulted Jan. 30 had just finished shopping in nearby stores, police said.
The thieves often wait for the victims to walk to their vehicle, parked away from the main road in a more isolated area, before holding them up at gunpoint, according to investigators.
Many of the incidents have occurred in broad daylight.
Police describe the suspects only as Black men in their 20s.
They’ve have used several types of vehicles. In the Jan. 30 incident, they fled in a white compact car, officials said.
Anyone with information can contact LAPD Detective S. Villatoro at 213-922-8217, or call 877-527-3247 after normal business hours. Anonymous tips may be submitted via 800-222-8477 or www.lacrimestoppers.org.