A violent robbery in Gardena was caught on surveillance video, an incident that police say reflects a trend of snatch-and-grab stick-ups. Police are looking for numerous, unrelated suspects that have been targeting women during daylight. Hetty Chang reports from the South Bay for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on April 30, 2013.
The security camera video shows a woman on a morning walk along a residential street in Gardena when, suddenly, a man in black sprints up from behind and grabs her.
She raises her arms, startled, as the man, armed with a handgun, hurls her onto the front lawn of a home. There, behind the cover of bushes, he assaults her and robs her.
The attack happened about 6 a.m. April 18, and is just one of several recent bold, snatch-and-grab robberies in the South Bay.
"We've been investigated them for the past year, year and a half but they've been picking up rapidly," said Detective Richard Reynaga of the Gardena Police Department.
Robbers are targeting women, often in broad daylight, police said.
"They're definitely alone at the time, and inatten(tive). They're not really paying attention to what's going on around them," Reynaga said.
The crimes have residents on edge.
"It's nerve-racking, especially as a lone woman," said Alyssa Magnani, who lives just a few blocks from where one woman was assaulted. "Usually we feel a little more safer during the day. It's really scary. Now I'm a little frazzled."
In many cases, the robbers are going after gold chains, according to police. They are likely selling the gold obtained during the robberies at pawn shops or businesses that buy and melt down gold, authorities said.
"Make sure you're tucking in your chains, holding on to your purses and try to make your valuables less visible," Reynaga advised.