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NEWS IN BRIEF: A summary of developments across Los
Angeles County | Community News File / Hawthorne

Robbers Attack Bodyguard, Steal Briefcase With $100,000 in Gems

July 11, 1998

A gang of jewel thieves attacked a bodyguard in a shopping mall parking lot and stole a courier's briefcase filled with gems worth more than $100,000, police said Friday.

Authorities said the theft is similar to crimes that are under investigation in Long Beach and Corona.

"These were well-planned crimes," said Lt. James McInerny of Hawthorne Police Department. "They choose their victims, apparently follow them in their daily routines, and commit their crime at the opportune time."

The bodyguard, a retired Los Angeles police officer whose name was not released, fired several rounds at the robbers as they sped away, and may have wounded one of his assailants, police said.

The attack occurred about 2:10 p.m. Thursday, when a jewelry courier, also unidentified, stopped off at a Sportmart in a mall near Ocean Gate and Rosecrans avenues. The bodyguard remained outside the store, McInerny said.

At that point, McInerny said, the bodyguard "was overpowered by several Spanish-speaking men, some of whom "assaulted and pistol-whipped" him, while others slashed the vehicle's four tires with a knife. The seven or eight suspects smashed the car's windows, grabbed the briefcase and fled in three cars.

Police put out a hospital alert for the wounded suspect. As of late Friday there has been no response.

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