Santa Monica
Traditional Reporting for A Digital Age

Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark
2802 Santa Monica Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90404

Home Special Reports Archive Links The City Commerce About Contacts Editor Send PR

Neighbors Take to Online Sites as Manhunt for Suspect in Santa Monica Robbery Unfolds

Kronovet Realty
We Love Property Management Headaches!

Santa Monica Travel and Tourism Ad

Harding Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP  law firm
Harding, Larmore
Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

By Niki Cervantes
Staff Writer

March 2, 2018 -- “I hear helicopters.”

The brief post on a local website in Santa Monica signaled a long night to come after a robbery at a Montana Avenue jewelry store Wednesday sparked a police manhunt.

The search engulfed neighbors, who watched police, tracked the suspect through backyards and otherwise told the tale via social media as it was unfolding.

The male suspect -- who remained at large Thursday -- robbed the “Curated Los Angeles” jewelers at about 5:30 p.m., armed with “a suspicious device.”

According to police, the suspect dropped his haul while still inside the store, then drove off in a vehicle, striking several parked cars as he headed northbound on 15th Street ("Suspect Remains at Large after Robbing Montana Avenue Jewelry Store," March 1, 2018).

Neighbors, meanwhile, logged onto local online sites, posting police warnings, keeping each other updated and expressing fears and frustrations -- using the internet much like the party lines that telephone users from an earlier era relied on for spreading the word.

Posting on, an online sight that focuses on Santa Monica community issues, and on the Facebook page for Santa Monica Now, another site for discussing local issues, neighbors watched the ensuing manhunt from inside their homes, where police tweets urged them to stay.

They warned each other to stay sheltered inside as helicopters circled above and police, K-9 teams, S.W.A.T. units, a Sheriff Department’s bomb squad and others swarmed their streets.

The online posts about the jewelry store robbery and subsequent manhunt expressed heightened fears, and some disillusionment among the neighbors.

“It feels like our city is under siege,” said one poster to residocracy.

And the next day, with the suspect still at large:

“They never caught him, right? ”one woman posting on Santa Monica Now’s Facebook page asked. (

“This is pretty scary. I was afraid to leave my house to walk the dogs,” she said.

Among other posts:

"We were at our house on Georgina between 15 and 16 around 630 PM when we saw the suspect hop the wall into our backyard from our east neighbors, run through our yard, we saw him in the yard and looked at him, when he saw us he then hopped the rear wall to the house on north side (San Vicente side).

“We immediately went outside to tell the police (they were all over Georgina) where we saw him in our yard and where he fled; they couldn’t have been less concerned. They simply told us (not) to come out of the house and that was it, nobody went into the yard or even tried to look for him for hours.

“Likewise, they didn’t even ask us for a description or anything. He was no longer wearing his sweatshirt, just grey t shirt, he also was not carrying anything that we could see."

The suspect had already run into a neighbor's yard and allegedly dropped a backpack.

"They found the backpack in their yard and gave it to the officers thinking they might want to search it or use it with the K9s, the police took it and just put it down on the curb in front of the house. Again, they didn’t want to hear anything from us.

“We had to spend the night away from our house (luckily our neighbors took us in for a bit) and now we are returning in the morning, and who knows if he’s hiding in our yard, our house, our neighbors yards/garages.

“The fact that us and neighbors saw the suspect, had direct information and concerns, but the police had no interest in talking despite there being 40+ officers on the street standing around with us shows their level of arrogance with the whole situation.

“Great to know they gave him hours to hide and make his escape and now he’s still at large...”

Police did not respond by deadline to a request for comment.


Back to Lookout News copyrightCopyright 1999-2018 All Rights Reserved. EMAIL Disclosures