LA County sheriffs investigating Willow-Street Blue-Line station robbery

Sean Belk
Staff Writer

Los Angeles County sheriffs are investigating the robbery of a victim, described as a 31-year-old male, who was knocked unconscious on the Blue Line platform at Willow Street and Long Beach Boulevard on Wednesday, Jan. 23.
According to Sgt. Eric Jaime, the victim was waiting for a train when he was approached by two black males, described as being in their early 20s, a little more than six feet tall and weighing about 160 to 200 pounds.
One of the suspects attempted to take the victim’s bike, saying, “Hey, that’s my bike,” and tried to walk off the platform with it, Jaime said. The victim, however, tried to take the bike back, and a fight broke out. At some point, the victim’s cell phone fell to the floor, and one of the suspects ran off with it.
As a precautionary measure, the victim, who reported being knocked unconscious, was transported to the Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, where he was treated for scrapes and abrasions, and he remained overnight for observation, said Dave Sotero, spokesperson for Metro. On Tuesday, Jan. 29, Jaime said the victim said he was “doing better” after suffering from nonlife-threatening injuries.
Long Beach police officers first arrived on the scene at 7:26pm after being dispatched at 7:23pm. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, which provides security for LA Metro light rails and subways, proceeded to investigate the situation.
Jaime told the Signal Tribune that the sheriff’s department has assigned an investigator to the case and that the department already has some strong leads after obtaining still shots from Metro’s video-surveillance cameras and information from the victim. “We have some pretty good information,” Jaime said. Footage shows that one suspect was wearing a maroon USC hoodie with possibly gray paints and that the other suspect was wearing a gray hoodie with blue jeans, he said.
Jaime said the suspects are facing robbery charges, which could be incorporated with gang enhancements, if the incident turns out to be gang-related, and/or assault and battery charges.
The incident is the second reported violent crime on the Blue Line in Long Beach in recent months. A 19-year-old passenger was shot last November as a train stopped at the 5th Street station. Jaime, however, said violent crimes and robberies on the Blue Line are rare. “We rarely have problems down there in Long Beach,” he said, adding that the Willow Street station is one of the safest stations on the route.
Sotero said he couldn’t confirm the frequency of such incidents on the system. “There are a number of activities that happen on our system,” he said. Sotero added that LA sheriffs regularly patrol stations, and Metro has safety and security features, including video-surveillance cameras and emergency call boxes on platforms and inside each train.

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