Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore announced Tuesday the agency will create a task force to investigate “follow-home robberies,” which have increased in frequency in recent weeks.
Moore said the department has identified 133 likely instances of such crimes.
The announcement came hours after 23-year-old Jose Ruiz Gutierrez was fatally shot outside the Bossa Nova restaurant in the 7100 block of Sunset Boulevard at 2:10 a.m. Tuesday, in what Moore said is believed to be tied to follow-home robberies. The heists involve robbers who follow people wearing high-end jewelry or have expensive vehicles or other belongings.
Moore said Gutierrez was “coming to the aid of a female who was being attacked” when he was killed.
The Robbery Homicide Follow-Home Robbery Task Force will include robbery homicide detectives and resources from the LAPD’s Gang Narcotics Division and Metropolitan Division.
“They’ll work moving forward on identifying these individuals responsible and pursuing and bringing them before the criminal justice system,” Moore said.
“The impact this is having on the sense of community, of safety, is profound,” he added.
Moore said robberies in Los Angeles have decreased over a two-year period, but they’re more violent than in the past, with more suspects being armed with firearms, and have “the potential for matters to escalate to something that we saw this morning.”
He added that people should not try to protect their property when confronted with robbers.
“There’s no item of jewelry or piece of property that they have that is worth their life, and so if they find themselves in such a perilous situation, to cooperate, be a good witness. … Do not chase people, do not try to pursue people and do not try to take actions yourself other than to minimize the chance that you become a victim of the type of violence we saw this morning,” he said.
He added that if someone notices they’re being followed, they should not drive home and instead go to a police station and call 911.
“Do not stop, do not make a confrontation with the individual. Instead, call us and let us come and help.”