LAPD is warning about an increase in follow-home robberies after several celebrities were followed home and robbed at gunpoint.
Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said the LAPD has seen an increase in follow-home robberies affecting wealthier areas of the city – mainly the Westside. The department has put up a bulletin warning about the trend, stating that victims were targeted based on the car they drive or their jewelry.
Several celebrities have been targeted by the criminals, including “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star Dorit Kemsley, and BET host and actor Terrence Jenkins.
According to detectives, Kemsley was followed home to her mansion in Encino before the burglars smashed their way into the house and stole around $1 million in valuable items consisting of designer bags and jewelery.
“The victim was in fear and complied with the suspects’ demands by directing them to valuables,” LAPD officials said. “The suspects took handbags, jewelry and watches with a significant monetary loss and fled the location in a black truck.”
Investigators told The Los Angeles Times that the burglars threatened to kill the star, whereupon she pleaded for her lives and the lives of her children before complying.
Another celebrity victim, Terrence Jenkins, was followed to his Sherman Oaks home around 3 a.m. by masked robbers who attempted to block him from escaping with an SUV. The criminals surrounded his car and ordered him out at gunpoint, police said.
Jenkins managed to flee in is car while being shot at. He was then able to find a CPH officer and call for assistance.
Officers responded immediately and surrounded Jenkins’ home, going through it and making sure no robbers were inside.
The LAPD has stated that they are investigating over 100 follow-home robbery incidents like these.
LAPD Capt. Jonathan Tippet of the Robbery Homicide Division believes there are multiple robbery crews behind the recent incidents. Detectives are working to identify suspects, who they believe belong to LA street gangs.
LAPD Sgt. Hector Olivera warned individuals to be aware of their surroundings at all times.
“People need to be aware of the surroundings, especially leaving nightclubs, restaurants and what have you,” Olivera said.
“It seems that the suspects are targeting individuals [with] expensive jewelery, expensive cars and things of that nature.”
According to LAPD’s bulletin, the robbery crews target those leaving up-scale restaurants, bars, and clubs.
Investigators also compared the incidents to the “knock-knock” robberies of four years ago, where crews would knock on wealthy residents’ doors, and if no one was home, would break in.