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Five arrested in smash-and-grab jewelry store robberies

Los Angeles police detectives have arrested two adults and three juveniles who allegedly were getting ready to rip off a downtown jewelry store near 6th Street and Broadway.

Investigators suspect the five may be behind a slew of smash-and-grab robberies in the downtown Jewelry District in recent months.

Jabril Greene, 24, and Makrice Leonard, 18, were booked Monday for conspiracy to commit robbery.

Two of the three juveniles -- all of whom were ages 16 or 17 -- were detained at Eastlake Juvenile Hall because of their prior criminal records, and the other juvenile was released to his parents.

Two of the suspects are gang members, according to Lt. Paul Vernon of the Los Angeles Police Department.

“The jewelry merchants are alert to this spree of smash-and-grab robberies,” Vernon said Tuesday. “It was certain things about the car, how many men were stuffed inside and how they were dressed that added up to [the potential for] robbery.”

Vernon said a merchant pushed his panic alarm Monday when he saw a Cadillac circling his store, and police quickly arrived. As they spoke to the merchant, the Cadillac passed by again.

Officers immediately noticed the license plate was covered. They detained the car and its five occupants and found a hammer, gloves, a large canister of pepper spray and a pillowcase inside, Vernon said.

The five were wearing hooded sweatshirts on a hot day.

“We also noticed that one of the occupants had his hand wrapped in a bandage, which made us remember the video we released from the 21st Century Jewelry Store robbery the other day,” Vernon said. “One of the suspects there punched a glass display case and may have hurt his hand.”

Several similar robberies have occurred in Orange County, and Vernon said he has alerted agencies across the region to the arrests.

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-- Richard Winton

Video: A smash-and-grab robbery caught on surveillance camera earlier this month in downtown L.A. Credit: Los Angeles Police Department

 
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