Five from East LA arrested in Chinatown street robberies

CHINATOWN, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Los Angeles police have arrested a gang of robbery suspects that they say were targeting Chinatown residents as they walked on the street.

The suspects would typically approach Chinatown residents - primarily men in their 20s or elderly women - and attack them on the street, taking cellphones, purses, jewelry, police said.

The attacks - at least eight of them - generally happened between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. for over a month. Some victims suffered minor injuries during the robberies.

In an interview, one victim described a typical encounter: One person in front of her grabbed her bag, another came from behind and grabbed her while a third hit her from the side as they stole her bag.

A special task force found and arrested the suspects after a short chase on Dec. 23.

They were surprised to discover their young ages. The suspects were identified as an adult female, three female juveniles and one male juvenile from East Los Angeles. The male was described as the enforcer of the group and he is being charged with robbery and assault.

Chinatown leaders said they will push for full prosecution, regardless of the young age of the suspects.

"It is not OK to hit anybody, especially elderly females," said George Yu, with the Chinatown Business Improvement District.

Police believe there could be more victims and witnesses and encouraged anyone with information to contact the Los Angeles Police Department.
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