Suspect arrested in Pico Rivera smash-and-grab jewelry robbery

PICO RIVERA – A man was behind bars Friday on suspicion of taking part in a smash-and-grab jewelry robbery at the Pico Rivera Indoor Swap Meet, authorities said.
Christopher Holley, 18, was booked on suspicion of the crime, which took place about 6:15 p.m. at the swap meet, 7860 Paramount Blvd., Sgt. Rodney Johnson of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Major Crimes Bureau said. He was listed as a Los Angeles resident, though authorities said he claimed to have been staying in Lancaster.
The robbery was carried out Holley and six other men who fled the scene in two cars, leaving him behind, officials said.
“He got left behind and was trying to blend in with patrons from a nearby business,” Johnson said. Deputies arrested him without incident.
While Thursday’s heist has not been definitively linked to any others, the robbery highlighted a trend of smash-and-grab jewelry robberies that have been on the rise throughout Los Angeles County and Southern California over the past nine months or so, Johnson said.
“We don’t have any evidence that (Holley) or his group have been involved in others, but it seems that groups have decided that this is going to be their crime of choice,” he said.
Similar crimes took place in Pasadena on Nov. 17 in Pasadena, Oct. 30 in El Monte, and in other places such as Los Angeles, Glendale and Orange County, authorities said.
Just as in the Pico Rivera crime, the others have involved groups of young black men who smashed open display cases with hammers or other items before helping themselves to jewelry and fleeing in waiting getaway cars, officials said.
The robbers in the crimes so far have all worked quickly, Johnson added. “They’re in an out within 90 seconds or a couple of minutes.”
It was unclear whether the recent smash-and-grab jewelry robbery trend is the work of one gang, Johnson said, or if it’s simply growing in popularity among criminal groups.
At least half a dozen suspects already arrested in connection with the crimes have all been members of the Crips street gang from Los Angeles, investigators said.
Johnson said detectives were still looking into whether Holley had gang ties Friday.
According to sheriff’s booking records, Holley was being held in lieu of $42,550 bail at the sheriff’s Pico Rivera Station jail. He was due for arraignment Monday in Whittier Superior Court.

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