Crime Wave: Residents advised to use caution as police investigate rash of armed robberies in La Jolla over recent weeks
An uncharacteristically high number of armed robberies – both commercial and against individuals – have been reported in La Jolla over the past three weeks, with suspects of similar descriptions. In several incidences, the suspects are described as two, tall adult black males wearing hooded sweatshirts, brandishing weapons. In some occurrences, a third male was also spotted.
Per City News Service, and as previously reported in La Jolla Light on Dec. 16, 2014, San Diego police report that two adult black, males robbed the La Jolla Village Lodge at gunpoint about 9:22 p.m. They entered the business at 1141 Silverado St. both armed with guns and made a demand to the clerk. They were last seen leaving with an undisclosed amount of cash, possibly in a light colored vehicle.
The next day, two more robberies were carried out, possibly by the same men. The first occurred around 7:20 p.m. in Hillcrest according to San Diego police Officer Robert Heims. The second, at Los Dos Pedros taco shop at 723 Turquoise St. in La Jolla, just two hours later.
In the first robbery, three black men armed with a gun and a knife robbed the business, and then fled on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash. Two of the men wore dark blue jeans and black hoodies with the hood up and cinched over their heads to hide their faces, and the third wore a dark jacket, gray baseball cap, black bandana and dark blue jeans, Heims said.
A few days later, on the evening of Dec. 21, a La Jolla resident was robbed at gunpoint at La Jolla Cove.
“My friend and I had dinner in the Village and decided to go for a walk because she is from out of town and wanted to listen to the surf at the Cove,” he told La Jolla Light. “We sat on a well lit bench on Coast Boulevard. We were not there three minutes when someone came up to me dressed in a dark hoodie and asked if I could help him. I said ‘no,’ but at that moment I realized he had a gun in his hand, so I threw him my wallet and cell phone. He picked them up and walked away.” The victim described the assailant as an adult black male, just under 6-feet tall wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt, and said the gunman said nothing besides the initial demand.
Facing a second assailant, his friend refused to give up her purse and was dragged from the bench in the exchange. The victim did not get a good look at the second assailant and could not provide a description. Distancing himself and his companion from the scene, the victim soon called police.
Less than a week later, on Dec. 27, the Shakeaway milkshake parlor was robbed at gunpoint, as was a La Jolla resident walking home from dinner.
In the commercial robbery, two men, one of them armed, entered the Shakeaway milkshake parlor at 723 Pearl St., at 8:47 p.m. demanding cash from an employee, Heims said. They left the eatery and met up with a third suspect outside.
One of the suspects was described as a 5-foot, 11-inch tall black man weighing 200 pounds, who was last seen wearing a black hoodie with a black scarf and a black ski mask covering his face from the nose down; a black beanie and black pants. He was also armed with a handgun.
The other suspect was described as a 6-foot tall black man wearing a black beanie and full ski mask with the eyes and nose cut out. Police had no description of the third suspect.
In the individual robbery, which occurred within 20 minutes of the commercial robbery, the victim told La Jolla Light she was walking home when a tall (she estimates between 5-feet, 10 inches to 6-feet tall) black male with a hooded sweatshirt approached her, and pointed a gun at her.
“My friend just said ‘what do you want?’ so the (assailant) turned to look at my friend, and I just bolted and ran into the street screaming at the top of my lungs,” she said. “After about 20 seconds, a shorter man (also described as a black man wearing a hoodie) came out from the shadows and told the gunman ‘let’s go,’ so they ran off and got into a car.” The robbers never said what they were seeking, and did not obtain anything from the victim or her friend.
“It was 8:30 at night; it was amazing the brazenness of this entire thing. It’s appalling,” she said. “Even safely walking your dog is going to become a problem.”
Officers told the victim the assailants had committed six prior robberies.
“I read somewhere, many years ago, to make noise and separate yourself, so assailants have two targets instead of one, and then try to get attention, so that’s what I did,” she said.
Other large-scale robberies took place in La Jolla between Dec. 23–27, but it is unknown if they are related. Per San Diego Police, two suspects entered the Sunglass Hut store at 1049 Prospect St. Dec. 23 and stole approximately $2,500 worth of sunglasses. One suspect was described as a male wearing a dark jacket and blue jeans.
That same night, a few hours later, two suspects entered the lobby of the Sands of La Jolla Hotel at 5417 La Jolla Blvd. and proceeded to rob the clerk. One suspect brandished a gun and demanded money from the register and safe. The suspects also demanded the clerks cell phone and jewelry. The suspects took approximately $800 in cash and property.
In an additional break-in at the Sunglass Hut, Dec. 27, a suspect used a rock to shatter windows of the store and take approximately $6,000 worth of sunglasses. The suspect was described as a male, wearing a black hood, black hat, blue jeans, and dark colored gloves.
San Diego Robbery Unit is investigating, and will provide additional details as they become available.
• SEE RELATED STORY:
— Police say robberies in La Jolla are connected: lajollalight.com/news/2015/jan/14/police-say-robberies-in-la-jolla-are-connected/