Crew of thieves nabs watches valued at $350,000 — Los Angeles, CA
After a rash of smash-and-grab robberies downtown early this summer, Los Angeles police say another smash-and-grab, in which watches valued at $350,000 were taken, may signal that robbery crews are becoming active again.
The latest came Saturday afternoon in Chinatown when five men in masks or hooded sweatshirts smashed counters at Chong Hing Jewelry on Hill Street and made off with the watches, according to an LAPD report.
The suspects also stunned employees with pepper spray and took a .45-caliber pistol off a store security guard, according to the report.
They drove off in a black car, either a Kia or a Toyota Tercel, with paper plates.
In the last year, smash-and-grab robberies have grown into popular crimes among gangs at jewelry stores in Los Angeles, Pasadena, Pico Rivera, Anaheim, El Monte, Fullerton, Glendale, Huntington Park, Santa Ana, Brea and Placentia.
Police have arrested members of the Rolling 60s Crips and Project Crips from South L.A. and Denver Lane Crips of Pasadena in the robberies.
Los Angeles police saw a rash of these robberies in June and July at downtown jewelry stores.
“It appears the word got out that the Jewelry District was too hot, so now the crews have hit a store in Chinatown,” said Lt. Paul Vernon, Central Detective Division commander, in a media statement. “In this case, their M.O. was a little different in that they were after expensive watches, not gold chains.”