A shocking video shows a group diners in the patio of a trendy Los Angeles restaurant being robbed at gunpoint in broad daylight, the latest incident in a wave of violent crime that began with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The robbery happened just before 5pm Tuesday in the 7300 block of Melrose Avenue, a popular shopping and dining strip that runs between the neighborhoods of Beverly Hills and Silver Lake, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
Police are investigating the incident caught on surveillance footage, which shows a man and two women sitting at a table covered in purses and shopping bags.
They appear relaxed, looking at their phones and chatting, when two masked men in hoodies suddenly crowd around them.
Police are investigating an armed robbery that appears to have taken place outside of La Crème Café in Melrose Avenue Tuesday afternoon
Two masked men pulled a gun on the dining trio and stole their purses and shopping bags
The incident took less than 20 seconds and was captured on surveillance video of the sidewalk
One of the women drops her phone in fear when one of them draws a handgun.
The gun-wielding criminal picks the phone up and stuffs it into a purse on the table, which he collects along with the rest of the group’s belongings.
The other robber sifts through the male diner’s pockets as he holds his hands up.
The incident took less than 20 seconds and appears to have taken place at European-style restaurant La Crème Café.
The restaurant did not immediately respond to calls and emails from DailyMail.com.
‘Shocking,’ nearby resident Asha Iyer told KABC.
‘That’s terrifying. I live in this neighborhood and hang out all the time. I had no idea that was happening.’
The incident appears to have taken place at La Crème Café, a European-style restaurant
There’s been a string of violent crime this year in the buzzing Melrose Avenue, home to retailers like Urban Outfitters and various restaurants.
In February, there were reports of robberies of Rolex watches taken from people walking along the strip.
In March, three men pulled a gun on a couple walking after lunch and took the man’s belongings, including a gold necklace, before fleeing in a car driven by a fourth suspect, according to KABC.
Last month, a store employee at Shoe Palace – just three blocks from the March robbery and seven blocks from Tuesday’s robbery – was fatally shot after a dispute over a raffle.
Police later arrested a 16-year-old suspect, according to KABC.
Melrose Avenue, home to various shops and restaurants, has been the site of violence this year as violent crime rises in Los Angeles, primarily driven by an uptick in homicide
There were more than 350 murders in Los Angeles last year, a 38 percent increase from 2019, according to Los Angeles magazine.
‘It’s a puzzle,’ David Abrams, a University of Pennsylvania law professor who runs the City Crime Stats website, told the magazine.
‘I think a lot of people are trying to understand it. I haven’t seen anything compelling that fully nails it.’
As of July 31, total crime in Los Angeles is up 2.3 percent compared to last year, according to data from the LA County Sheriff’s Office.
The uptick is driven primarily by criminal homicide, which has seen a startling rise of 73 percent.
There were 178 cases of homicide in LA from January 1 to July 31, up from just 103 during the same time period last year.
This year, the city of angels is on track to record 437 murders, the most since 2006, according to LA magazine.
Robbery, on the other hand, is down 21 percent from last year.