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LAPD Establishes Task Force To Stop Surge Of Follow-Home Robberies

Los Angeles, CA – The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD)’s top cop has announced that he’s going to put a stop to the more than 100 recent “follow-home robberies” where criminals follow their victims home from high-end locations and then rob them in their driveways.

LAPD Chief Michel Moore said on Tuesday that the police department hadn’t seen a series of violent hold-ups “like this in decades,” KTLA reported.

Chief Moore announced on Nov. 23 that he had set up a special task force to target and apprehend the follow-home robbers.

The follow-home robbers have targeted celebrities and high-end restaurants and nightclubs, KTLA reported.

LAPD has said that investigators believe that robbers likely target people driving expensive cars and wearing expensive jewelry as they leave high-end establishments late at night.

A man was killed at about 2:09 on Tuesday morning in the 7100-block of Sunset Boulevard when he tried to help a woman who had been followed from the Bossa Nova restaurant, KCAL reported.

Chief Moore said the man was killed when he came “to the aid of the female who was being attacked” by eight robbery suspects who had jumped out of two separate vehicles.

“I heard a lot of shots,” a witness told KCAL. “I couldn’t count how many. And then I heard a scream.”

“This girl was constantly screaming ‘help,’” the witness continued. “I come downstairs, the guy is laying down in front of the car. I check his pulse. Maybe I could do something, but he had too many gunshots in his head. So, there was nothing I could do.”

Police found 23-year-old Jose Ruiz Gutierrez dead at the scene, KCAL reported.

Witnesses told police the suspects were armed with handguns and left the scene in a black Nissan.

Chief Moore told reporters that Gutierrez’s murder was likely linked to a recent string of follow-home robberies in the area where armed suspects wait until their potential victims get out of their vehicles in their driveways and then spring on them, armed with handguns or Tasers.

Police have said the robbers steal designer purses, watches, jewelry, and cash from their victims, KTLA reported.

He said the crimes originated outside stores in the Melrose District, Westside, and the Jewelry District as well as outside expensive restaurants, KCAL reported.

Chief Moore told the LAPD Commission that there have been at least 133 follow-home robberies in 2021.

The police chief said the new task force would be made up of 20 detectives drawn from LAPD’s most elite investigative divisions, including Robbery-Homicide, Metropolitan, and specialized gang units, KTLA reported.

Investigators have said they believe Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Dorit Kemsley’s home invasion was part of this same spree.

LAPD released home security camera videos of the break-in that occurred at about 10:50 p.m. on Oct. 27 at Kemsley’s home in the 17000 block of Adlon Road in Encino, KABC reported.

The housewife was home with her children, 7-year-old Jagger and 5-year-old Phoenix.

Kemsley had just returned from a trip to London for her nephew’s wedding and her husband, P.K. Kemsley, was still there when the home invasion occurred, the Daily Mail reported.

The reality television star awoke to find masked, armed men at the foot of her bed.

The robbers ordered Kemsley out of bed and forced her at gunpoint to lead them to jewelry and other valuables around the house, NBC News reported.

“The victim was inside the residence at the time and was confronted by the suspects. Both suspects threatened to kill her as she pleaded for her life and the lives of her young children,” LAPD said in a press release.

The Kemsley children were asleep in their bedroom during the home invasion and did not see anything, KABC reported.

The robbers ransacked the celebrity couple’s $6.475 million, 9,000-square foot home for about 20 minutes.

The thieves made off with more than a $1 million in designer purses, shoes, watches, and other accessories, NBC News reported.

The surveillance camera videos from the outside of Kemsley’s house showed two men approaching a glass door on the back of the home, which is inside a walled compound.

Both men were wearing masks and hooded sweatshirts, the video showed.

The home invaders took their time in breaking into the home.

The video showed the two men stood at the door and plotted out their next steps on a patio marked with chalk drawings made by the children.

One of the thieves pointed out things inside the home through the glass and then the two looked around the yard as if confirming their getaway route, the video showed.

Then one of the suspects left the camera frame and the other man applied some kind of device to the glass door and shattered it.

Surveillance video from the front yard showed that the thieves carried their stolen booty out of the Kemsley home wrapped in bedsheets.

A third suspect appeared in the video and help the initial home invaders haul stolen goods across the front yard and out through the front gate, which had been opened from the inside, the video showed.

The thieves loaded the stolen items into a black, four-door pickup truck on the street right in front of the Kemsley home and then made their getaway, the video showed.

No arrests have yet been made in the case and LAPD released the security video with the goal of getting an identification on the suspects from members of the public, KABC reported.

The investigation is being handled by LAPD’s Robbery Homicide Division.

Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

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Written by Sandy Malone

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