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Los Angeles gangs are sending crews to stalk and rob the city's elite

Photo by David McNew/Getty Images

Street violence continues to spiral out of control in California, as gangs organize crews to carry out attacks on the wealthy elite of Los Angeles.

More than a dozen Los Angeles gangs are targeting some of the city’s wealthiest residents with increasingly aggressive tactics. Gangs are sending crews out in vehicle convoys to find, follow, and rob Los Angelinos they find driving high-end luxury cars or wearing expensive jewelry.

SFGate reported that “in many cases, [gang members are] making off with designer handbags, diamond-studded watches and other items worth tends of thousands of dollars — if not more — and then peddling them to black-market buyers who are willing to turn a blind eye to the underlying violence.”

According to the police, some suspects in these robberies have been arrested but are soon released from custody, only to commit additional robberies.

The police are calling these robberies “follow-home” or “follow-off” robberies because they are often taking place shortly after victims leave luxury boutiques, hotels, expensive restaurants, nightclubs, or other pricey locations where gang members scout for targets.

Capt. Jonathan Tippet of the Los Angeles Police Department is spearheading a task force to identify and stop the individuals carrying out these attacks. He has identified at least 17 distinct gangs that operate independent “follow-home” robbery operations. Many of these gangs are located in Los Angeles’s southern neighborhoods.

In 2021, there were 165 of these robberies; there have been 56 so far in 2022. Reportedly, the region experiencing the plurality of these robberies is what the LAPD labels its “Hollywood Division.” Of the more than 200 robberies, this division has experienced 50.

The LAPD has used surveillance technology to identify gangs and crew members engaged in the robberies “rolling three to five cars deep in some of the attacks.” Once the gang members get close enough to an identified target, they blindside their victim.

Tippet suggested that the victims often don’t even get a chance to voluntarily comply with their robbers before being violently attacked.

He said, “There’s no chance or opportunity for these victims even to comply. They’re just running up to people and attacking them, whether that’s putting a gun in their face or punching them and beating them. Pistol-whipping them as well.”

Tippet said that in 23 of the robberies, shots have been fired, and two victims have been murdered.

He said, “In my 34 years on the job, I’ve never seen anything like this."

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