Six hoodlums dressed in all black tried to do a smash and grab, but the tenants weren’t having it. They had something waiting for them that the criminals did not expect. At the St. Vincent Jewelry Center in downtown Los Angeles, a group of six individuals in all black attempted to destroy display cases with their hands and steal whatever they could from a tenant, but a special kind of glass prevented it – something the would-be robbers did not expect and completely foiled their plot.

Although the attempt at a smash-and-grab in LA’s Jewelry District finally failed, it should be noted that there has been a noticeable increase in these thefts over the past two years. Nejdeh Avedian, the general manager of St. Vincent Jewelry Center, said: “The majority of our tenants have the kind of glass that you can’t break, so they were not successful.” While robbers tried to snatch as many things as they could, employees resisted by using the display cases as obstacles and tossing other objects at the robbers.

Afterward, one of the suspects was caught by a security officer in a neighboring parking lot, and the Los Angeles Police Department ultimately took control of him. According to Avedian, the majority of his tenants at St. Vincent are foreign citizens who risk their entire livelihood to sell jewels.

“Some of these tenants, they feed three families, so the grandfather, the father and now the son…so, they’re not going to just sit there and let people take all this jewelry without doing anything about it,” Avedian said. Even though the Jewelry District was founded in 1972, Avedian claimed that a rise in smash and grab thefts only occurred in the last two years.

“Because there’s no repercussions for them. Their repercussions is if they get caught, they go to jail and the next day, they’re out walking around the streets,” he said. “We want police to help us and they are. We’re setting up meetings with them. We’ve been discussing it with them. We just need more help from CD14, from our councilmember, from our government, to help us with these types of things.”

Councilman Kevin de León’s commented on the incident: “I have always said that a key strategy to combat these brazen acts of violence on our streets is increased foot and bike patrols in areas like Downtown LA. That’s why I secured $2.5 million in LAPD overtime to be added for Downtown LA – so law enforcement has the resources to ensure officers are on the front lines, closely patrolling our streets and stopping crime before it happens. Without question, increased foot patrols are something that my constituents in Downtown LA had asked for, and this past July LAPD began using the resources I secured for its foot patrol units to tackle crime spikes and allocate resources where needed.”

District Attorney George Gascón’s office also commented. One part of a lengthy statement notes: “This is a very troubling crime. Robbery and Attempted Robbery are felonies. We are prosecuting felonies, including robberies, at the same rate as the previous administrations. Our charging rate for Robberies have not changed from that of prior administrations.”

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