HOLLYWOOD (CNS) – Twelve people were behind bars today for allegedly
joining with dozens of others in a rolling crime spree on the streets of
Hollywood, taking purses, phones, jewelry and other items from pedestrians and
stealing items from businesses.
The crime spree began around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday. The initial call
indicated that 15 to 17 men and women were robbing people around Hollywood
Boulevard and Gower Street, according to Los Angeles police Officer Christopher
“They kept moving from location to location,” No said.
Police said about 30 to 40 people were involved in the crime spree, with
the perpetrators breaking into smaller groups. At least one of those groups
wound up at the popular tourist destination of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland
Avenue, police said.
There were no reports of weapons being seen during the robberies.
Officers arrested 12 people — 11 juveniles and one adult, said Lt. Ray
Valois of the LAPD’s Hollywood Station. Eleven of those arrested were booked on
suspicion of robbery and one was booked on suspicion of receiving stolen
property, he said.
In addition to robbing individuals’ property, the suspects also took
items from businesses, leaving a mess behind them as they went, Valois said.
One victim suffered a hand injury while being robbed of her cell phone,
but she was not hospitalized, police said.
Police initially indicated the crime spree may have been related to
recent protests over the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the killing of
Florida teen Trayvon Martin. LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith said at a mid-morning news
conference the group was likely just taking advantage of the department’s focus
on the protests.
“What we’re thinking is these youngsters took advantage of our
redeployment of officers down to the Crenshaw district last night, and decided
this would be a good night to come up to Hollywood and act a little crazy,”
City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, who represents the area, insisted that
the Hollywood area is still a safe area to visit, despite recent violent
incidents — including last night’s robberies and last month’s fatal stabbing
of a woman, allegedly by a transient, near the Hollywood & Highland Center.
O’Farrell said he would be in Hollywood tonight with Mayor Eric Garcetti
and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck to send a message that the area is safe.
Meanwhile, Smith said investigators were reviewing surveillance video
from the various cameras positioned in the Hollywood area in hopes of
identifying additional suspects in the crime spree.