Melrose neighborhood on alert for robbers

LOS ANGELES The neighborhood that lines Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles has become a very trendy and desirable destination. Residents don't want that to change, so they met with police on Wednesday night after a string of brazen armed robberies.

Most of the robberies have happened at night.

The thieves are targeting people who are walking alone. That doesn't sit well with some residents.

"This is a walkable neighborhood. And people like to walk to the local stores and the wonderful restaurants. And that makes you fearful when you hear that there are armed robbers out there," said Paul Lerner, Melrose Action Neighborhood Watch.

Paul helped form the Melrose Action Neighborhood Watch Group soon after the murder of a 74-year-old man in March. Now, a string of seven armed robberies has residents on edge, once more.

"The crime here, I don't know what to say. I'm shocked," said Clemencia Garcia, a concerned resident.

The armed robberies started on August 8 in what the LAPD calls the Melrose Corridor. The most recent happened on August 17. Police say all seven are connected.

"It appears that it probably is the same group of people that are committing these street robberies," said Captain Beatrice Girmala, Los Angeles Police Department.

Capt. Girmala says the LAPD called for Wednesday night's neighborhood meeting. She says officers with the Hollywood division are working to bring residents some relief.

"We ask for a little patience, and I know that's difficult ... especially given this set of circumstances," said Capt. Girmala.

Dozens of residents were crammed into a recreation center to get the latest on the investigation.

"I think the LAPD is doing a really good job. I just think people are here tonight ... I think mostly because of communication," said Mark Grossan, another concerned resident.

Police say they don't have much of a description of the suspects. They say the suspects are said to be two to three young black men. The suspects are believed to be between the ages of 25 and 30.


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