A hiker walks along the Los Lioness Trail in the Pacific Palisades in August. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
An outdoor holiday party in the Pacific Palisades came to a crashing halt Friday night when two armed robbers broke into the residence and stripped guests of jewelry, phones and a watch, according to the homeowners.
The robbery happened on the 1200 block of Rimmer Avenue at around 7:40 p.m., the Los Angeles Police Department said.
The owner of the home, who asked to not be named, said two party-goers came inside the house to retrieve their purses and were confronted by two men with guns. The men took jewelry, iPhones and an Apple watch from the women and then left, the owner said.
“It’s more frustrating than it is scary,” the owner told The Times. “I feel lucky that no one got hurt.” The victims of the robbery, however, were quite shaken, he said.
An LAPD public information officer who declined to provide his full name said the suspects fled the scene by the time police arrived. The spokesman had no information on whether the suspects had been identified or apprehended, he said.
The homeowner said he has attempted to contact the LAPD multiple times to turn over security footage — which shows the suspects walking through the front door — but has been unable to reach the department.
“A detective was supposed to call the women who were robbed, but that hasn’t happened yet, either,” he said.
The robbery is one in a recent wave of property crime in affluent areas of Los Angeles, including upticks in robberies in upscale corridors like Melrose Avenue and a spate of follow-home robberies on the Westside.
Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore announced Tuesday that he is setting up a task force to apprehend follow-home robbers, saying the department has not seen violent hold-ups “like this in decades.”
The trend, which has targeted celebrities and upscale restaurants in recent months, turned deadly early Tuesday morning when a man was gunned down during an attempted robbery outside Bossa Nova restaurant in Hollywood. The man later died.
A day later, Beverly Hills philanthropist Jacqueline Avant was shot dead in her Trousdale Estates home. Police linked the crime to the arrest of a 29-year-old Los Angeles man with a lengthy criminal record on suspicion of burglary and robbery.
While robberies are up 3.2% this year citywide compared with 2020 — but down compared with 2019 — the more alarming trend is that suspects are more often using firearms, Moore told Los Angeles Police commissioners.
Violent crime in L.A., however, has notably increased. Homicides are up 46.7% compared with 2019, while shooting victims are up 51.4%, according to police data.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.