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BEVERLY HILLS : Police Chase Through Chasen's Was a Swifty

March 30, 1995|SUSAN STEINBERG

Guests at a post-Academy Awards party Monday got a glimpse of a crime drama as real Beverly Hills cops chased a robbery suspect through the black-tie party at Chasen's restaurant.

The man, a suspect in a string of armed robberies in West Hollywood and Beverly Hills, was arrested in the parking lot behind the famous eatery.

The episode began at 1:20 a.m. when a gunman took a wristwatch in a street robbery in the 8900 block of Cynthia Street in West Hollywood.

A few minutes later, a man held up two people in the 8800 block of Santa Monica Boulevard and took a wallet containing $1, said West Hollywood sheriff's Sgt. Art Lucas.

At 1:52 a.m., another armed robbery was reported--this time in the 400 block of North Oakhurst Drive in Beverly Hills, about a quarter-mile from Chasen's.

Beverly Hills Police Officer Jay Broyles saw a man matching the description of the suspect wanted in the holdups running across a street, pursued by a tow truck. Broyles briefly caught the suspect as he was trying to get into a waiting car.

The car sped off--chased by the unidentified tow truck driver--while Broyles sprinted after the suspect, said Beverly Hills Police Lt. Frank Salcido said.

Other officers joined in the foot pursuit, watching as the man tried to lose himself in the crowd outside Chasen's. "It wasn't hard to spot him, since he wasn't wearing a tux," Salcido said.

Officers chased the man through the party tent and kitchen and out to the parking lot. There, they arrested Fernando Borreyro Saenz-De Baranda, 30, of Los Angeles.

In the episode's epilogue, the tow truck driver followed the car until it was abandoned in the Fairfax district. Its driver escaped and the car was found to be stolen. Saenz-De Baranda was booked on suspicion of robbery and grand theft auto.

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