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Man Robbed at Gunpoint Outside Vons

Three suspects flee with $980 in cash, plus a credit card.

A 21-year-old Eagle Rock resident was robbed Friday evening at gunpoint by three men outside the Vons supermarket on North Figueroa Street near Highland Park, according to the LAPD.

The victim had exited the Vons parking lot in a truck, a white, two-door 2003 Ford Ranger, and was waiting for the eastbound traffic to clear on Colorado Boulevard so that he could drive west toward Eagle Rock proper, when three men came up to his open window. One of them pointed a blue-steel semiautomatic pistol at him.

“Give me your money, fool,” the armed suspect said to the truck driver, according to Officer Young Honor, who wrote the robbery report at the LAPD’s Northeast Community Police Station.

Minutes before he was robbed, the victim had gone inside the Vons store to cash a $980 check at a branch of the Wells Fargo bank. He handed over the money, with his wallet, to the armed robber, Honor said.

The blue and gray dual-fold wallet also contained the victim’s California driver's license and a Macy’s credit card, Honor said. “I think they watched him cash the check inside the store,” the officer added.

The robbery occurred at about 6:50 p.m. and the victim reported it at the Northeast police station at 8 p.m., Honor said.

After the suspects got the victim’s wallet, they ran in front of his truck and fled in the direction of Figueroa Street, Honor said, adding that the victim was scared and let the robbers pass in front of his truck.

Young described the victim, whose name was not disclosed for police investigatory reasons, as a Latino construction worker who said he was a “cement mason.”

A Vons security guard at the Figueroa Street store, which is barely half a mile from the border of Highland Park, said he arrived on duty at 7 p.m. and hadn’t heard of any robbery on or near the store’s property. Several Vons employees inside the store also said they were unaware of the incident.

Tracy Talbert July 30, 2011 at 02:02 PM
Ajay, thanks for keeping us informed. I'd also like to know more about the suspects.
John Goldfarb July 30, 2011 at 03:03 PM
Ajay, at least you should give Martin credit for the most creative spelling I've seen on Patch in months.
Scott Martin-Rowe July 30, 2011 at 03:08 PM
Is the detail that the victim "let the robbers pass in front of his truck" included to suggest that he should've/could've run them over? I also agree with the officer who noted that they probably watched him from the store, or had a spotter who was watching, and then called his or her friends in the parking lot. They should check the video cameras inside the store and see who follows the guy out. I'll bet the victim will be able to ID them. @ Martin - What we need to do is use our tax dollars for programs to keep young people occupied and invested in the community and themselves. When you've got nothing going on in your life, things can get bad quick. As a high school teacher in downtown LA, I can tell you that teenagers - which I'm guessing these guys were or are close in age to - love to see what can happen next. If nobody is helping guide them except other teenagers, you get the tagging and crime that you speak of.
J July 30, 2011 at 03:20 PM
Terrible news. At the Vons near Highland Park? Isn't it just Eagle Rock? Eagle Rock Proper? What is this? Crime is a bummer, it is okay to say there was an armed robbery in Eagle Rock. Interesting thing about the corner of La Loma and Figueroa is that there are rampant drug deals, homelessness and drug use on that corner. Residents spent so much time fighting against the school that was built in the area and have forgotten about the blight that exists here.
David Fonseca (Editor) July 30, 2011 at 04:03 PM
Hi J, We noted the proximity to HLP as a reference point for our HLP Patch readers. Thanks for your comments!
CEMykytyn July 30, 2011 at 04:38 PM
I think your HP readers well knew that Eagle Rock is pretty close to them (and thus, relevant). HP has a worse reputation for violence than Eagle Rock so to say that this happened in a "near HP" Vons is absurd. This happened in Eagle Rock. And it is terrible and I hope that the cement mason is able to pay his rent...
Ajay Singh (Editor) July 30, 2011 at 06:11 PM
Thanks for that insight, Scott Martine-Rowe. The officer at the Northeast Station suggested that the victim could certainly have exercised that option but didn't, possibly out of fear but surely also because that wouldn't be the best decision to make for a law-abiding citizen.
Ajay Singh (Editor) July 30, 2011 at 06:15 PM
HCL and Tracy—At this point the police don't know enough about the suspects other than their possible ethnicity, and to mention just that would be tantamount to so-called racial profiling.
Ajay Singh (Editor) July 30, 2011 at 06:16 PM
John, I agree. As someone said, never trust a man who can't spell a word at least two ways.
Hulga July 30, 2011 at 07:13 PM
I think the victim could have been potentially in deep s*#@! if he had hit them with his car. They were fleeing and not an immediate threat. To run them down, possibly killing them would seem like revenge. Although probably tempting, not the victim's right. I'm surprised the LAPD officer said that it was within his right. I don't think it is.
Ajay Singh (Editor) July 30, 2011 at 07:31 PM
Thanks, Hulga—the LAPD officer *did not* say it was within the victim's *right* to do what you suggest he could have done, that is, mow down his tormentors with yet another weapon (in this case, his truck). What the LAPD officer alluded to was the ever-present *possibility* of that scenario. (And yes, of course, driving over a robber can land anyone in just as much legal trouble as shooting a robber in the back.)
Scott Martin-Rowe July 30, 2011 at 07:49 PM
It's also probably ill advised to attempt to run over someone who just pulled a gun on you. That, and killing someone because they just took $900+ dollars from you is a bit extreme. It sucks to get robbed, but taking a life is permanent. These guys will be caught for this crime or another someday.
CR90042 July 30, 2011 at 07:58 PM
Why is it necessary to identify the only Vons in the area as near Highland Park? What defines "Eagle Rock proper"? (Except for the implication that armed robberies don't occur there and can only be explained by proximity to Highland Park.) If this was an article on a flipped house in the same area, the article would read "Eagle Rock". (If you don't believe me, read some of the ravings on the Times' Mapping LA project.) Highland Park isn't perfect, but we don't need to be burdened with Eagle Rock's crime. Also, it's not racial profiling to pass along an accurate description of two armed robbers. Height, weight, tattoos, and yes, presumed ethnicity are important information. We can't be so open minded that our brains fall out.
eaglerocker July 30, 2011 at 09:45 PM
I make that left (or west) turn out of Vons several times a week. There is plenty of foot traffic there, though most of the pedestrians are vagrants (who were displaced from the abandoned housing that Vons tore down years ago, promising to build a mixed-use development that never appeared). A question: Was the victim turning west on La Loma, or was he on La Loma, turning west onto Colorado? In either case, at 6:50 pm on a Friday, there would've been lots of traffic -- and witnesses -- to such a crime. The robbers would've had to hang out on the traffic island on Colorado, and thus be seen by everyone waiting at the stoplight (if it was red); or, they would've been holding up traffic and getting honked at (if the light on La Loma was green, or if the victim was stopped at the La Loma exit from the Vons lot).
Ajay Singh (Editor) July 31, 2011 at 01:25 AM
Thanks for those details, Eaglerocker. The officer at the Northeast station did not mention the actual street that the victim was on. We do know that he was waiting to hang a left (westward) turn onto Colorado when the robbers pointed a gun at him. I'll find out if the police report mentions the exact street on which the victim was at the time of the robbery.
Ajay Singh (Editor) July 31, 2011 at 01:36 AM
Eaglerocker: I spoke to Officer Honor just now and he says that according to the victim, he was within the Vons parking lot, waiting to go west onto Colorado. In other words, it doesn't look like the victim was on La Loma, based on what Officer Honor says he said. I do wonder—and perhaps you can tell us right away: Is it possible to directly exit the Vons parking lot onto Colorado?
Michael Larsen July 31, 2011 at 01:39 AM
I mentioned this crime to a manager at Vons today, and she had no idea what I was talking about. Apparently it was not important enough for LAPD to notify the management at Vons, or the management didn't think it was important enough to tell employees. Either way it seems like a significant lack of communication assuming the facts in the story are correct. Makes me personally wonder whether Vons considers the safety of it's customers at all.
Frank Mackey July 31, 2011 at 06:05 AM
My common sense is tingling... I wonder if they are reviewing the video footage from the McDonalds and inside the Vons.
LWags July 31, 2011 at 08:03 AM
I don't care one bit for the loaded language in this article. An Eagle Rock resident Robbed "near Highland Park"... "Barely half a mile from the border of Highland Park"... this is an unfortunate incident, but it's an incident that occurred to an Eagle Rock resident at an Eagle Rock business. I am sick of Eagle Rock and the surrounding communities pinning their acts of violence on Highland Park.
chris watts July 31, 2011 at 11:46 AM
The whole thing smells fishy to me.
Alberto August 01, 2011 at 03:57 PM
*Patch*, you aren't a print (permanent) news source: why don't you just change the article to more correctly/specifically state this happened in Eagle Rock and give the closest intersection? On the other hand... *People*, get over that it happened "near Highland Park". It did, in fact, happen, "near HLP" and though it's dumb to write it that way (it's either relevant enough to be included on the HLP/MtW Patch or it isn't, no need to add disclaimer within the article) it isn't a stretch to write it like that... get over it. Worry less about image and more about reality. Michael L: it sounds like you got to play the good citizen be helping LAPD spread the word about the incident, they need all the help they can get. I agree though that Vons is the one who could do a better job here of informing *patrons* so they can look out for themselves instead of keeping quiet to protect profits. Ajay: It's unnecessary and distracting to include the officer's comment about how he "let them pass in front of his truck". Also, if including the language "give me your money, fool!" doesn't lead to profiling then I don't know what does. CR90042 is right: giving a description doesn't amount to profiling and you should know better than to suggest it. I draw a more broad image of the robbers from the quote than I might from a list of appx. height, weight and clothing/distinguishing marks. Also: way to join in on making fun of an illiterate, but vocal, fellow citizen/reader. Nice.
Ajay Singh (Editor) August 01, 2011 at 04:57 PM
Alberto—I appreciate your nuanced arguments but am baffled and intrigued by how the armed suspect's words, "Give me your money, fool!" amounts to racial profiling, as you suggest, and gives you a "broad image of the robbers." (Sounds like a line from a B Western to me :)
m000 August 01, 2011 at 05:40 PM
I don't think you can exit directly onto Colorado from the Vons parking lot. Turn on the satellite on google maps for this lat/long: 34.136230, -118.189583 to see an aerial view.
din August 01, 2011 at 06:43 PM
Been living in Highland Park all my life and have to say that Vons in my eyes is Eagle Rock proper. I mean it is between Colorado (Eagle Rock Postal Service) and Yosemite (Eagle Rock High School) how more proper Eagle Rock does it get? I don't believe I need to explain to the writer that both places are small, share allot of border and no more then 5 minutes away from each other. Thus the whole "near highland park" I find hilarious.
Joe Walker August 01, 2011 at 07:47 PM
My aren't we touchy. The Von's is also less than a mile from Pasadena. Why not include that too? Why not point out that a bus passes right there that takes people to Glassell Park, Cypress Park, and even LAX??
eaglerocker August 01, 2011 at 08:00 PM
Ajay: You have to take a left onto La Loma, then another quick left at a stoplight to get onto Colorado proper from the Vons lot. I can see how the officer/victim used shorthand -- since he was planning to turn left onto Colorado eventually. (This is the northern entrance/exit from the parking lot; the main/eastern entrance spits you directly out onto Figueroa, either on the way to the freeway... or Highland Park.) Anything's possible. But at dinnertime on a Friday, I'd assume there was someone waiting behind the victim to exit the parking lot, or waiting to turn into it, since the entrance is so narrow. Or both. (Fyi, edited my previous comment, with better directions!)
Concerned August 01, 2011 at 08:55 PM
It is very alarming that all these crimes have been happening closer to home . I live near by this Vons and it's sad to hear that not enough is being done to find out who is behind all this robbery . None of the local residents in the neighborhood were notified of this . The numerous car thefts and robberies that have occurred within the past few months is alarming because no one knows if someone has been apprehended for these crimes.
Alberto August 02, 2011 at 08:41 PM
You're right, that particular point was poorly expressed. I realize now what I did wrong: Instead of saying, "we don't have the details yet; when we receive more information we'll update the article" I read in your reply the suggestion that you Did have Some information on the robbers (their ethnicity, I take it) and I jumped to the conclusion that, if you had that then you must have more... the next step in my thinking was that you were saying giving a description (with what details you implied you had + what details I decided you had) would amount to profiling. You didn't say that though. Granted, I don't know why LAPD or the victim would deliver the ethnicity but not anything else at all (wearing XX or #' tall) but, apparently they did not. My reply was still confused though. I guess I mean that the quote feeds the imagination of the reader and enables us to apply it to anyone/everyone they see. I'd rather have a description than a dramatic account. ...now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to imagine babies in various states of contentment delivering that phase.
Jeff August 02, 2011 at 10:21 PM
best to make large transactions in an actual bank, not a supermarket/whole chicken display. But then again, I avoid that Von's based on the people hanging outside, and the beggars at the doors. It's also dimly lit.
The watcher August 14, 2011 at 05:04 AM
Unincorporated areas.... Police reporting districts??? Lasd sheriff, lapd, and Pasadena pd all "patrol" this area yet I hardly see any presence. This little pocket is on the edge of eagle rock, highland park, AND west Pasadena. The same geographical arguments that this forum suggests, is the same reason this area is under patrolled.

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