Police in Los Angeles are looking for information about a ring of thieves who single out Latino landscape and construction workers, according to a story by Erika Martin broadcast on KTLA 5 News and posted on the station’s website. These criminals’ method of operation is to lie in wait near check cashing stores and banks in the San Fernando Valley cities of Panorama City and North Hills, approaching people who look like contract workers, asking them if they’d like to earn money moving furniture.
But when the victims get into the robbers’ vehicles, they aren’t driven to a work site, according to the story. Instead, they’re taken to a residential street in an unfamiliar area, where the driver then brandishes a firearm and demands cash. LAPD detectives told Martin the victims comply out of fear, at which point the thieves flee, leaving the victim stranded.
In a news release, the LAPD says it began receiving complaints about these incidents Jan. 27. They’ve continued over the past few months. The robberies occur between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., with the most recent incident being reported on March 16.
Police describe the suspects as Latino men in their forties with brown hair and brown eyes, between 5 feet 6 inches and 6 feet tall and weighing around 240 to 300 pounds. They drive pickups and SUVs of various models and colors.
Anyone with information about these crimes can contact LAPD robbery detectives at 818-838-9895, or call 877-527-3247 after business hours and on weekends. Anonymous tips may be submitted via 800-222-8477 or LACrimeStoppers.org.