Four students were robbed while walking home from Los Alamitos High School -- and one was sexually battered -- in a span of 20 minutes in three separate incidents Thursday.
The first strong-arm robbery occurred at 2:45 p.m. on Bloomfield Street near Fiorista Street, when two men walked up to a 15-year-old boy and demanded his cell phone and valuables, according to Los Alamitos Police Department investigators. Police said one of the robbers motioned as if he had a weapon in his jacket.
During the first robbery, the suspects spotted a 15-year-old girl walking several yards back from the first victim. They motioned her forward and snatched her cell phone from her hands. But the cell phone didn’t work, so they returned it to her and fled north on Bloomfield Street on foot, according to police.
Police believe the same pair of robbers victimized two more teens even more aggressively just moments later at the intersection of Sausalito and Walnut streets. It was about 3:05 p.m. when the robbers approached a 15-year-old boy and girl and demanded their valuables. According to police, they asked the boy if he was a gang member and slapped him before he gave up his wallet, cell phone and iPod. Then they shoved the girl against a car and fondled her breasts.
“This is a very disturbing incident,” said Los Alamitos Police Capt. Bruce McAlpine. “It’s still in the early stage of the investigation. We intend to follow up on several leads that we have.”
Police have been in contact with the Los Alamitos Unified School District and plan to increase patrols around the school Friday. McAlpine encouraged students to stay aware of their surroundings and report anything suspicious to police. In situations like Thursday’s robberies, students should hand over their valuables, remain calm and observant and call police immediately to report the crime, said McAlpine.
The first suspect is described as a black male aged 18 to 25, 5-foot-10 with a medium build and dark complexion, short black hair and goatee. He was last seen wearing a dark jacket with white lettering, dark baggy jeans and sneakers. He had a tattoo on his neck and wore an earring.
The second suspect is described as in his 20s, with a skinny build and short hair. He was wearing a dark shirt, dark blue jeans, and a dark hooded sweatshirt.
Witnesses in the area report seeing a dark, older model Kia or Hyundai four-door sedan shortly after the robbery at Sausalito and Walnut. The driver was described as a heavyset woman, and there may have been an additional man with dreadlocks in the car. Police aren’t certain if the car is connected to the robberies, but its location and circumstances are considered suspicious.
Police are also asking for help from additional victims or witnesses. Anyone who has information about the incidents is asked to call 911 or the detective bureau at 562-431-2255, ext. 405. Parents with concerns about their children’s safety may also call the police department for guidance, added McAlpine.