Los Angeles police are investigating 15 robberies since May by a group of thieves who have targeted fast-food restaurants, grocery stories and small businesses in West Los Angeles.
Dubbed the "hooded bandits" because they cover their faces with masks and bandannas, the robbers have hit nine times this month.
Most of the crimes have taken place along Fairfax Avenue between Pico and Sunset boulevards and on Pico near Fairfax and near Western Avenue. The robbers, armed with semiautomatic handguns, take money from customers. They have not, however, fired shots.
"It appears that they were sporadic in the beginning but they have become prolific in this last month," said Capt. Al Michelena of the Los Angeles Police Department's Robbery-Homicide Division.