'Follow-Home Robbery' Fears Grow in SoCal

Much of Los Angeles County is on edge. It’s not just the smash-and-grabs at high-end stores and malls across the SoCal region (and San Francisco too). People have also been warned about an uptick in so-called “follow-home robberies” where perpetrators tail a person home from a restaurant or shopping center and rob them at their home or place of business.

Last month, the LAPD urged people to be on the lookout and take steps to protect themselves. They said the perpetrators are believed to be connected to six different gangs. They target victims based on their jewelry or cars. They’ve been particularly active on Melrose Avenue, the Jewelry District, and around high-end restaurants and nightclubs in Hollywood and along Wilshire Blvd. The LAPD recently launched a follow-home robbery task force to combat the problem.

The discussion about follow-home robberies was back in the headlines this week after the shocking death of a music executive’s wife in Beverly Hills. Jacqueline Avant was fatally shot in her home Wednesday morning. Her husband, music producer Clarence Avant, has been called the godfather of Black music. Her son-in-law is Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos. Jacqueline was regarded as a generous philanthropist who had served as the president of the Neighbors of Watts and as entertainment chairman of the NOW benefit auction.

There is no evidence yet that Jacqueline Avant was the victim of a follow-home robbery, but there has been plenty of speculation online. Beverly Hills Police Chief Mark Stainbrook, however, has refused to confirm whether Wednesday’s shooting was even a robbery.

“The motives in this case are still unknown, and we’re investigating all possible motives,” he said. “We will not speculate on anything that’s out there, including if this was a robbery attempt or not.”