Oakland man arrested in string of armed robberies in Los Angeles

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Wednesday, September 14, 2022
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An Oakland-area man has been arrested for half a dozen armed robberies in the Los Angeles area, including several along the Melrose corridor.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- There has been an arrest in a string of robberies around the Melrose district in Los Angeles.

But the area continues to be plagued by holdups.

LAPD officials said the Melrose and Wilshire areas have seen an increase in property crime, particularly what are known as "follow-home" or "follow-away" robberies.

Typically victims are dining or shopping at high-end restaurants or stores, when the suspects spot them and follow them to steal jewelry, merchandise and cash.

LAPD officers recently arrested an Oakland man for several such robberies.

Investigators linked Eric Watts, 31, to a rash of robberies in Los Angeles with the help of DNA evidence along with surveillance video.

One video shows a brazen armed robbery May 24 in a restaurant in the 8300 block of West 3rd Street in Los Angeles.

Detectives say Watts and another suspect armed with handguns cornered a victim, taking his jewelry and car keys before fleeing the scene.

Investigators releasing a video showing Watts allegedly working with another suspect entering a jewelry store on Melrose Avenue armed with handguns, approaching two victims on July 5.

Detectives nabbed Watts in Oakland and linked him to nearly half a dozen robberies in the Los Angeles area.

Lt. Kirk Kelley says they've made many other arrests for similar crimes.

One of those robberies resulted in an officer-involved shooting in the Melrose corridor.

Kelley says the suspect was arrested and charged were filed by the district attorney's office last week.

Detectives believe Watts is involved in other similar robberies that have occurred in Southern and Northern California that have gone unreported. Many of the crimes date back to last year.

Kelley says since the beginning of last year detectives have seen approximately 300 follow-home and follow-away robberies, and made more than 100 arrests.