Two separate gangs might be behind the 10 recent street robberies that have left residents in Echo Park and Silver Lake worried about a spike in crime. So far, however, none of the victims, all of them male, have been able to identify their attackers from photos of suspected gang members, said Dect. Lou Vargas, who is heading the investigation. Part of the problem is that many of the men were walking on their own on darkened side streets, making it difficult for them to I.D. the suspects. “People are not really getting a good look at them,” he said.
A post on Councilman Tom Labonge’s website said that “each man was approached by several Hispanic males who demanded their wallets and threatened them with either a gun, knife or bodily force.”
Some people believe the attacks in Echo Park near Sunset and Alvarado were part of an initiation into the Crazies gang that claim the nearby streets, according to Curbed LA. Vargas said he did not know which gangs are responsible. But he said that the six Echo Park attacks, which took place from late December through January, appear to be committed by a different group than the more recent attacks against four men in Silver Lake near Rowena. “We believe two different gangs might be involved.”
The suspects have targeted males who are on their own. But that’s where the similarities end. The victims who have been robbed – and, in some cases, beaten, stabbed and threatened with guns- have been Black, Latino and White. They ranged from high school age students to men their 40s, Vargas said. Some were were walking late at night after leaving a club or bar but others were attacked in daylight.
The suspects have taken phones, cash and wallets. “They are looking for some quick money – something they could sell,” Vargas said.
Some residents have complained that the police were too slow to warn the community about the attacks as they started to add up. More information will be available at a community meeting Thursday at 6 PM at Ivanhoe Elementary School in Silver Lake to spread information and ease concerns. But after years of declining crime, many residents in Silver Lake and Echo Park are suddenly feeling vulnerable. Said Councilman Tom Labonge on his website: