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Swarms of revelers rattle Holmby Hills and Pacific Palisades

One Holmby Avenue resident says young people arrived 'like a swarm of bees' Saturday night. By the time the police arrived to make arrests, more than 500 partyers were in the area.

April 01, 2012|By Sam Quinones, Los Angeles Times
  • A party on Holmby Avenue in Holmby Hills drew approximately 500 people Saturday. Police shut the party down.
A party on Holmby Avenue in Holmby Hills drew approximately 500 people Saturday.… (Christina Duerr )

Mindy Newman was enjoying a peaceful night at home Saturday in Holmby Hills, reading a biography of the late Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs.

Then at 10:30 p.m., the kids began arriving on her street "like a swarm of bees," she said. "They were coming in cars. They were coming in cabs."

Beverly Hills police had shut down a party nearby, and it was now migrating and growing by the minute — news spreading via social media and smartphones — to the apparently unoccupied Holmby Avenue house next to Newman's.

Newman called the police. It took 15 minutes for officers to arrive. By then the crowd on Holmby Avenue, two blocks south of Wilshire Boulevard, had swelled to well over 200.

"There was about 20 cars per 10 minutes," said Newman's daughter, Rachel. "They were sitting on top of my convertible. They were in the bushes. They're in my driveway."

Two female officers showed up and waded into the crowd.

"They were just so brave," Newman said. "These two women were in the middle and all these kids' iPhones were like torches and they were waving them" and taunting the police. "I was thinking, 'I don't think Steve Jobs would like his iPhone to be used in that way.'"

Newman and her daughter called 911 again, asking for officers in riot gear. By now, kids had commandeered the house next door. Newman could hear them outside chanting, "Chug! Chug! Chug!"

Soon police in helmets arrived. By then, police estimated the crowd at close to 500.

"They all scattered like mice and in came these beautiful, fantastic, courageous guys," Newman said.

Kids began jumping from the second floor of the house next door, and running through the Newman backyard.

Order was restored in about an hour, police said, with numerous young people arrested on a variety of curfew, trespassing and marijuana possession charges. One youth was hurt when he tried to pick a fight with another and was knocked to the ground, hitting his head, police said.

The party was the second on the Westside this weekend apparently abetted by social media.

A Pacific Palisades youth informed friends that he and his parents were going on vacation to Hawaii.

"He didn't say come over to my house while we're gone," said LAPD Officer Ray Barron, but a dozen or so of his friends did so anyway Friday night, Barron said.

They broke into the house, drank and partied, then made off with several laptop computers and some sound equipment, Barron said. Police arrested 13 people — 11 juveniles and two young adults. Investigators were able to "ping" the computers — activate tracking mechanisms on the machines — and they came up with locations on the Westside.

"Our lobby the next morning looked like a PTA meeting" with concerned parents milling about, Barron said.

Meanwhile, the homeowners and their son were on their way back from Hawaii, Barron said. Sunday morning, investigators were still sorting out who was going to be charged with trespassing, burglary and possession of stolen property, he said.

Back on Holmby Avenue on Sunday morning, residents were still dazed by the night's events. Mindy Newman never did finish her book about Steve Jobs.

"His spirit was here when these kids were out there with their iPhones," she said. "It was California, a rainbow of people. Everybody was there, and it just kept on growing and growing. It was all about kids going wild with technology."

sam.quinones@latimes.com

Times staff writer Andrew Blankstein contributed to this report.

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