One of the suspects accused of grabbing teen girls by the hair and robbing them of their cellphones in the Fairfax area has been arrested, but nearby residents say more needs to be done.
It’s a crime which shocked for its brazenness and the young age of the victims. While news of at least one arrest is encouraging for nearby residents, they say more needs to be done.
A security camera inside a business captured the crime on the sidewalk outside in the 7600 block of Melrose Avenue.
Two teenage girls walking to school were approached from behind by two people, and robbed of their cell phones in broad daylight, on busy Melrose Avenue Feb. 2 at 7:20 a.m. Two others were in the getaway car.
Peter Nichols is founder and board member of Melrose Action, a community public safety advocacy nonprofit.
"This has gone too far," he said.
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"There’s a collective relief in the community at large," he said, after he heard of one of the four attackers being arrested.
Melrose has long been a destination for dining, strolling, and shopping trendy boutiques, but there’s been a recent rise in armed robberies, including another such incident in which two masked men robbed women at gunpoint as they sat outside a cafe.
"The vast majority of victims in crime in this area has been visitors to this area," he said.
"We want people to be able to come up here and shop, walk in peace and not feel like they’re going to get mugged, robbed or even murdered."
The violent trend has businesses hiring private security and Melrose Action installing license plate recognition cameras.
"[It is] to help solve cases. It’s not a surveillance system, it’s a reactive system," he said.
Several cameras are in place and more are on the way.
Los Angeles police say they received numerous tips from the public on last week’s robbery and more arrests are pending.
Anyone with information on the others involved in the crime is asked to call Wilshire Robbery detectives at (213) 922-8217.