WEST HOLLYWOOD—On July 11, officials from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department West Hollywood Station recovered 17 stolen cell phones on the corner of Santa Monica and Robertson Boulevard.
Public Information Officer, Joanna Warren of the LASD West Hollywood Station told Canyon News that officers on Entertainment nightlife patrol were doing their standard patrol check when they spotted a man who resembled a pick pocking incident from a previous report. He and a female were loitering in the back of a bar area on the corner of Santa Monica and Robertson when they approached the two in action. She said they seemed nervous and startled by the encounter causing the female to toss a cell phone into a dumpster bin behind her. They were both arrested.
On the evening of July 11, authorities were able to return 5 out of the 17 phones to victims. Since then, they have returned five more to the victims. Seven cell phones are pending while they work on finding their owners.
In March, a West Hollywood local was physically assaulted outside of Heart Nightclub on Santa Monica when the suspect attempted to steal her cell phone, knocking her to the ground, causing the victim to go to the hospital. She suffered a cracked tooth after her jaw hit the concrete and injuries to her head and rips. The male suspect fled the scene in a black sedan BMW.
Since this is an on-going investigation, mug shots have not been released because police do not want to give active suspects involved reason to flee the area before they are caught.
Authorities reported that this is organized crime, and that they have seen up to 40 phones in one night. The pick-pocketers will go into a bar, steal the phones and come right back out to pass the phones to other confidants involved in the theft.
According to KTLA, the West Hollywood City Council voted to add a deputy to the Entertainment Police team but they are cutting the budget and letting go of two sheriffs on the team within 90 days.