A group of at least 17 gangs targeting Los Angeles' wealthiest are responsible for the city's recent string of 'follow-home' robberies, cops said Tuesday.
'In my 34 years in the LAPD, I have never seen this type of criminal behavior in such large groups coordinating to conduct attacks on unsuspecting citizens to take their property and/or vehicles,' said Capt. Jonathan Tippet of the attacks, which started in September.
In November, Tippet was tabbed to head a division designed to combat the robberies - Follow Home Robbery Task Force - which has seen armed suspects stalk victims leaving ritzy boutiques, hotels, and restaurants before striking.
The force - which includes 18 detectives - was created on November 23.
Since then, a total of 221 follow-home robberies have been reported - with a further 45 coming before the task force's creation.
During Tuesday's briefing, Tippet and other cops criticized city laws that saw two suspects the task force has arrested in the past month put back on the street while awaiting trial days after their offenses.
The briefing comes as violent robberies and smash-and-grab thefts have skyrocketed in Los Angeles. Robberies are up nearly 18 percent in the year-to-date compared to 2021, while those involving a firearm have surged by nearly 50 percent in the same time period.
Assaults are also up marginally, by 4.4 percent, with violent crimes overall up seven percent, statistics from the LAPD reveal.