Four people are in custody after a quick-thinking victim convinced two of them to surrender in an early morning home invasion in Lincoln Heights Saturday.
The armed men entered the home on the 2600 block of Alta St. around 1 a.m. Three residents were home at the time, two of whom were in the basement and were able to call 911, according to LAPD Capt. Martin Baeza.
The men were armed with a shotgun and three handguns, officials said.
"I don’t think the suspects knew (the residents) were there (in the basement), and they were able to exit the house without the knowledge of the suspects," Baeza said.
Once officers arrived at the scene, they immediately set up a perimeter. One of the robbers exited and was taken into custody.
"A few minutes later two other suspects came out with what we perceived to be a hostage at the time," Baeza said.
But officers later learned the attempted ploy was actually a victim's idea. Police said one of the victims apparently convinced two of the robbers that they should pretend to be hostages in attempt to escape arrest.
"Somehow the victim was able to convince them,” said LAPD Lt. Andy Neiman. "They did walk out and police were ultimately able to take them into custody.”
The remaining man was found in the backyard after a SWAT and canine search.
As a precaution, dozens of nearby homes were also evacuated and residents were moved to Lincoln High School.
No injuries were reported. It's not clear whether the victims knew the four robbers or not, police said.