Los Angeles police have warned citizens to be on their guard against "follow-home" robberies after logging 110 such crimes since the year began.
The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) said on Friday that it was still seeking information about the thefts, which involve criminals targeting people based on their jewellery, car model or other signals of wealth and following them to their house or workplace.
It said the robberies often began in swank areas of Los Angeles such as Melrose Avenue, the Jewellery District, nightclubs in Hollywood and Wilshire, or "high-end restaurants". It added that six different LA street gangs were known to be involved.
"In early 2021, [the] LAPD Robbery-Homicide Division identified an ongoing crime trend of follow-home robberies. Suspects would target victims in Los Angeles," a spokesperson said. "As a result of this, RHD detectives began to track the various robberies that were being reported.
"In reviewing these reports and speaking with area detectives, it is clear that not all these incidents are related, in terms of the same suspects committing these crimes.
"This conclusion is based in part on the suspects’ background, in those cases were arrests have been made or suspects identified, and their gang affiliations."
LAPD captain Jonathan Tippet told the LA Times that multiple robbery crews are probably behind the spree, though overall robberies have only risen by 1.9 percent from 2020 and are down by more than 15 percent since 2019.
Sergeant Hector Olivera added: “People need to be aware of the surroundings, especially leaving nightclubs, restaurants and what have you.”
The bulletin came just two days after music TV host Terrence Jenkins, known popularly as Terrence J, was followed to his home in Sherman Oaks by masked bandits and surrounded in his car at gunpoint.
When the robbers tried to box him in with an SUV, he managed to drive away. They pursued him and fired shots at his car, but fled when he flagged down a highway patrol vehicle.
Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Dorit Kemsley was also targeted at her mansion in Encino, where two men followed her and then smashed their way in, confronted her, and made off with goods worth up to $1m.
The LAPD said: “Both suspects threatened to kill her as she pleaded for her life and the lives of her young children. In fear for her safety, the victim complied with the suspects’ demands and directed them to valuables. The suspects took high-end handbags, jewelry and watches.”
Detectives compared the follow-home robberies to another trend from several years ago, known as "knock-knock burglaries."
Rapper Nicki Minaj and two former sports stars were among the victims whose houses were ransacked after thieves knocked on their doors to check no one was home.
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