July 28, 1999

Orange County Joins L.A. Crime Fighting Unit

Responding to a recent rash of robberies of jewelry salespeople, the Orange County District Attorney's office assigned two prosecutors to work with a special Los Angeles Police Department unit to help solve cases quickly.

In the past several weeks, LAPD helped arrest 18 people for jewelry robberies committed in Orange County, reports the Los Angeles Times. Members of L.A.-based gangs often target potential victims near the jewelry mart in downtown L.A., then follow them for several days and often commit the robberies in other counties. "The cases started to get spread out all over the courts," says Mike Lubinski, Orange County deputy district attorney.

Orange County's partnership with the LAPD Violent Crime Special Section will help streamline prosecutions across jurisdictions after arrests are made and teach local prosecutors how to track jewel thieves. The special unit was formed in May 1998 to focus on jewelry thefts committed largely by trained Colombian gangs. (Read related story.)

- by Stacey King