Yesterday a group of robbers followed a woman who was leaving a watch repair shop and ran her down in the street with their car so they could steal her watch. This local news report points out this is part of a growing trend of follow-home robberies that were almost unheard of in the city until recently.
As that report mentions, there were five such robberies over a 48-hour period. A task force made up of 18 detectives has been created to go after these thieves. Yesterday the task force blamed the surge in these often violent crimes on 17 gangs which are targeting wealthy individuals and neighborhoods.
According to Capt. Jonathan Tippet, who spearheads the task force, police have identified at least 17 gangs, most based out of South L.A. and operating independently, that are involved…
“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 on them,” Tippet said. “Pistol whipping them as well.”
The number of these robberies dropped in March but now they appear to be heading back up. Captain Tippet gave an interview with to the LA Times in which he expressed his frustration with the way people arrested for these crimes keep getting released and then wind up being arrested again.
Last week, LAPD Chief Michael Moore gave a presentation to the police commission in which he offered an example of how this works by referring to a specific suspect named Michael Adams.
Adams, according to Moore, was involved in eight separate follow-off robberies over a sixth-month period starting last fall, including one in which two UCLA students were robbed of two watches worth nearly $145,000 after leaving a club, a second in which two foreign tourists were robbed of watches worth $73,000, and a third in which $51,000 in property was stolen.
During the course of the eight robberies, which occurred between September and February, Adams was arrested three times. The first time was on Jan. 9, when Moore said Adams was found in a car that had been used in one of the robberies and where a gun was also found. Online court records show no charges were ever filed against Adams in that case, suggesting prosecutors were unconvinced they could win a conviction.
Adams was arrested again on Jan. 27 and a third time on Feb. 21, and in both cases charged with illegal gun possession. Court records show he was ordered released each time without having to pay bail. The reason was a pandemic-related rule, aimed at reducing the jail population, that requires L.A. County defendants to be released without posting bail for certain offenses.
Adams, who could not be reached for comment, has since been arrested a fourth time on charges related to seven robberies, to which he has pleaded not guilty…
Moore said Adams’ earlier and repeated releases from custody endangered public safety, and that people who are repeatedly arrested for gun crimes should not be let out before trial. He also suggested that prosecutors played a part by not seeking certain charging enhancements to those brought against Adams that might have kept him in jail.
In another, similar case a 25-year-old suspect named Cheyenne Hale was arrested earlier this month on suspicion of an armed robbery that happened last October. Police searched Hale’s home and found “seven additional handguns, $21,000 in cash and “a large quantity of drugs” including cocaine and methamphetamine.” Despite all of this, Hale was released from custody.
After Chief Moore made his presentation to the police commission, Police Commission President William Briggs said, “This revolving-door criminal justice system that we have right now clearly is not working and is endangering the citizens of Los Angeles and is creating a public safety crisis.”
They are talking, of course, about DA George Gascon. Gascon’s office claimed Michael Adams wasn’t eligible for charging enhancements after previous arrests. Nothing is ever Gascon’s fault. At least that seems to be how he sees it. Meanwhile the people police believe are behind a jump in violent robberies just keep going through the revolving door and wind up back on the streets. It’s almost unbelievable that LA residents are willing to tolerate this.