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17 L.A. gangs involved in 'follow home robberies' that target people once they're alone, police say

Police said the robbers tail their victims, wait until they're isolated and steal expensive items in an ongoing trend.

More than a dozen gangs in the Los Angeles area are targeting people and robbing them of watches, jewelry and expensive items, police said.

The thefts are a part of a trend that the Los Angeles Police Department called "follow home robberies," in which suspects target victims, follow them and then rob them as they go into isolated areas, such as their homes.

A police spokesperson said Wednesday that at least 17 gangs, operating independently, are believed to be connected to the robberies.

In one alleged attack, on Monday, a woman leaving a jewelry store in downtown Los Angeles was followed by two people in a silver Dodge Challenger, police said in a news release. As she approached an intersection, one of the people got out of the Challenger, approached her car and used an unknown tool to shatter her driver-side window.

"The victim attempted to drive away but was unable due to heavy traffic. When her vehicle stopped, the victim exited her vehicle and ran westbound on 8th Street seeking help," police said.

The robbers, one of whom is alleged to have been armed with a gun, chased the woman in their vehicle, struck her with their car and got out. The victim "immediately removed her watch and threw it on the street," police said. The robbers grabbed the watch and fled.

The woman sustained minor injuries and was treated at the scene. No arrests had been made Wednesday afternoon.

Another attack happened last year as the victim left a design school. Police said the male victim was returning to his business when he noticed that a white Maserati was following him. As he pulled up to his business, the Maserati drove up alongside, and three people got out.

"The victim attempted to run away from the suspects but was chased and pushed to the ground. While on the ground, one suspect pointed a handgun at the victim’s head and demanded the victim remove his watch. Two additional suspects then removed the victim’s property. During the robbery, a fourth suspect removed the victim’s personal property from his car," police said in a separate news release Friday.

The victim estimated that $604,000 worth of items were stolen, including two watches, a laptop and an iPad.

Cheyenne Hale, 25, of Los Angeles, was arrested April 6 in connection with that robbery. He is being held in lieu of $90,000 bail, jail records show. An attorney was not listed for him.

Several other robberies have been connected to suspects Matthew Adams, Jayon Sparks and Eric Wilson, police said. The crimes happened from January to March, they said in a news release.

Sparks and Wilson were arrested March 24, and Adams was arrested March 31. Sparks was charged with two counts of robbery and one count of possession of a firearm, and Adams was charged with seven counts of robbery, two gun enhancements and other crimes. Both remain in jail on bail.

Wilson was charged with one count of possession of a firearm and released on bond. Police did not say how he is believed to have been involved in the crimes.

Police Chief Michel Moore said Tuesday that two murders have been associated with the follow home robberies, and he urged the public to be mindful of their surroundings.