Woman Robbed at Gunpoint in Studio City

badgeThe Valley has seen its fair share of crime during the current recession. Car break-ins. Knock-knock bandits. And now, armed robbery with semi-automatic weapons.

Just last night, a woman was robbed at one of the busiest and most public intersections in the Valley, at Ventura Boulevard and Laurel Canyon. At 9:30.

Are you paying attention, Mr. Mayor? While you continue to play coy about your intentions to run for Governor, the city of Los Angeles is spiraling out of control. Do something, before citizens begin arming themselves for their own protection.

As for Erin Muir, he is her entire email account of what happened last night, posted with her permission:

Hey, all!

So, I am writing this to REMIND and WARN all of you about your safety. Tonight I was robbed at gunpoint at a Wells Fargo atm. I am perfectly safe and fine and all they got was money and my phone. BUT the police came to my home after, and the people who robbed me did another robbery later this evening as the police were taking my report- we heard the report coming in on the walkie talkies. I am writing to warn you all to be careful. I am about as carefree as they come, so I sometimes need to learn this lesson myself! But the police who came to take the report told me that usually, when a crime like this happens a few times with “success” (i.e. not getting caught,) the criminals will strike again within a month because they become bolder. So. Please be SO careful with yourselves.

First of all, I was in my car and rolled up to the Wells Fargo ATM at Ventura and Laurel Canyon about 930 at night. Two men with masks and guns came to my car and took money and my cell phone.

Later they did another robbery at Van Nuys.

I, of course, thought the guns might be fake and maybe I should drive off, then again, I didn’t want to take that chance and get shot. And, the criminals that did it, while wearing masks, seemed very nervous and very young. There were two men, one about 5’10” and one about 5’7″, both wearing hoods and very skinny. Both had semi automatic guns. (I don’t know if they were real or fake but just assume they are real.) They wore hoodies sweatshirts- dark and grey- and blue jeans. Non descript.

So, the police told me that the BEST thing would have been for me to pull into the nearest area with lots of light and people (like the Trader Joes/ PinkBerry shpping area right there) and ask anyone to use a cell phone and call them immediately. That way they could maybe have caught the two men earlier and a second crime might not have happened. I was freaking out and drove around looking for a police station instead of doing something rational like that. Also, I reported my cell phone stolen immediately, and they said that it is possible that they COULD have tracked the location of my phone had I left it “unreported” for a day or so. So, just some things to think about.

I’m just so shocked. Really. I mean. I know crime happens and I have had it happen to me in the past- my car was broken into over the holidays while I was out of town; I once had my purse stolen in Barcelona (they got my passport AND my ex boyfriend’s insulin and needles. That was a hell of a trip….) but…. GUNS. That’s no joke. I am SO thankful it isn’t a WORSE story. We have heard the horror stories and I, for one, will not use an ATM at night anymore and will not be so carefree with myself, in or out of my car.

Anyway, be careful out there. Don’t be fearful, but… don’t be dumb, either!

Take care!


22 thoughts on “Woman Robbed at Gunpoint in Studio City”

  1. This is a scary story. I’m glad the victim is OK and I hope these guys are caught.

    Now for the editorial portion: it is obvious the author knows nothing about guns when “semi-automatic” is used to sensationalize. For the past, oh, 100 years, almost all handguns in use are either semi-automatic or revolvers. One is not more deadly than the other – both a semi-auto and a double action revolver fire one shot every time the trigger is pulled. Unfortunately, pretty much all journalists are so liberal they wouldn’t even know who to call to ask about gun terminology.

    Now, if the robbers had carried a single shot or flintlock, that would be sensational.

  2. If they had harpoons that would be sensational too. Don’t be an ass. The story here is that a woman was robbed at gunpoint in an area that generally doesn’t see that kind of crime.

  3. Wow, is it just me or does no one else walk around suspicious of everyone, especially at night? I once drove to the Bookstar in that same area, but had to walk through the alley from the dark parking lot to the store’s entrance. I practically walked with my head twisted around the whole time.

    When by myself, especially at night, whether driving or walking, I’m always on alert. Even in Studio City, which I don’t regard as any safer than Koreatown.

  4. Travis, muwraesl was not being an ass but was merely reacting to the abundant hyperbole in Ms. Muir’s e-mail account and his remarks were 100% on the money, in my opinion. I lived in the vicinty of Ventura/Laurel Canyon for many years and it’s always best to be very aware of your surroundings in that area, or any area of Metro L.A., after sundown, as Darleene wisely shares above.

  5. True it’s always wise to be careful. But really anyone who thinks Studio City is as dangerous as Koreatown has never lived in Ktown. Check the LAPD crime maps http://www.lapdcrimemaps.org/. There was one violent robbery reported in February within a mile of Ventura and Laurel Canyon and 37 within a mile of Wilshire and Normandie.

  6. Yes, and the Wilshire-Normandie problem will become the Ventura-Laurel problem as the recession deepens and criminals search out street prey with more than fifty cents in their pocket. Don’t use bank ATMs at night. Period. Bite the bullet and pay the $2.50 fee to get your cash from an ATM inside a grocery store or other brightly-lit retailer. That’s one of the reasons the in-store ATMs exist.

  7. There are so many ways to access your cash these days that the mere concept of going to a bank ATM at night is as archaic as using rabbit ears for TV reception.

  8. While YES it’s always smart to be aware of your surroundings and act prudently (and I say this as a victim of a robbery at an ATM in the West Valley at night), and YES there’s all sorts of crime all over LA, it doesn’t diminish the fact that this sort of thing is, for the most part, rare in that location.

    I think that we at LA Metblogs however miss a large part of the story. I do not know what the crime rates are looking like on the [real] Eastside, South LA, South Central, Panorama City, Mission Hills, Sun Valley…are they staying the same? going up? and where is the outcry over similar crimes that have been occurring in these places for decades?

    That is a separate issue from Jason’s post, though. It’s worth noting the spread of violence into areas that were previously not as violent.

  9. All LAPD police stations have ATMs, too. You’re not likely to be robbed there. :-) (Nearest LAPD station to Studio City is on Burbank Blvd., just east of the 170 Hollywood Freeway.)

    Or, from Laurel Cyn & Ventura, go to the Gelson’s market at Laurel Canyon & Riverside – not only do they have an in-store ATM, they’ll give you up to $200 cash back with any purchase.

    I’m with Mu Wraesl on the hyperbole, though. One strongarm robbery (with semi-automatic weapons! gasp!) in an moderately upscale neighborhood is hardly evidence that the city is “spiraling out of control”.

  10. But, hyperbole is what I do. It’s kinda my thing. I enjoy doing it. I sleep better at night knowing that some journalism major has gotten his panties in a bunch over a post I wrote on a local blog. It lets me know that you’re out there. You’re living and breathing something that I wrote. We have connected in some deep internet kinda way. And that, makes me happy.

  11. I wasn’t trying to say Studio City is any safer or not than Koreatown. I just treat them the same.

    I’m with Markland on the cash thing. I’ll go into a supermarket and buy something I don’t need to avoid going to an ATM (especially an out-of-network ATM).

    AND I also try my best to never get gas at night. My husband’s sister once told me a story about a woman by herself getting raped because she was getting gas at night. It may be an urban legend, but I think its pretty safe advice anyway.

  12. But, hyperbole is what I do. It’s kinda my thing.

    Yeah, I’ve noticed that. :-)

    Glad it makes you happy.

    Makes it kinda hard to take you seriously, though – and diminishes any chance that Metblogs might have of being taken seriously as a voice for change in the community.

    (And personally, I’d have to say that if anyone has their “panties in a bunch”, it’s you, not the journalism majors of your imagination.)

  13. Then don’t take me, or Metblogs, seriously, Mapnerd. That’s your choice.

    This is not a newspaper or CNN. It’s a blog. It’s the internet. It’s a bunch of people that live in Los Angeles who choose to write about their city for no pay. That’s all it is.

    But, if it makes you feel better, please continue to correct our grammar and spelling. Everyone needs a hobby.

  14. Hey, you’re just writing on a blog, and I’m just commenting on your writing in the blog’s “Comments” section.

    Don’t get your panties in a bunch.

  15. OMG that is just blocks from where I used to live. Scary stuff, nearly as bad as the last great recession in the 80’s, ‘cept then I lived in LV and everyone was armed and the shoot outs were awful.

  16. Egads.

    lamapnerd, think of it this way: Studio City is relatively safe, but probably not as safe as people think. Jason writes a post about a single mugging. It gets a lot of attention. People, especially around Studio City, hear about this, and start sharing stories of similar incidents they’ve hard about. People become more vigilant, more careful, more aware. As a result, the neighborhood actually becomes a little bit safer.

  17. David, I live in Studio City. I don’t mind raising peoples’ awareness – especially if they think armed robberies are “rare.”

    Studio City ain’t Compton, but it ain’t bucolic crime-free suburbia, either. (Neither is most of suburbia, for that matter, but that’s a different issue…)

    The North Hollywood Division has tallied 91 violent robberies since the beginning of the year, 32 in the last month alone.

    But that’s down 17% compared to the same time period last year.

    The city of Los Angeles is not “spiraling out of control”.

    And there’s nothing so remarkable about a semi-automatic weapon that it warrants breathless bold-facing.

    I don’t mind making people aware of what’s going on, but I dislike sensationalism and fear-mongering – whether it comes from CNN or unpaid bloggers.

    Fear is the mind-killer. It makes people do stupid things and support stupid, repressive policies.

    We need less of that around here, not more.

  18. Now, you kids. Play nice.
    I don’t think it’s hyperbole; I want to know about gun crimes in the supposedly ‘safer’ areas of the city. I live in Whittier. Things even happen here (most PDs have a blog or crime log). Will I arm myself? It’s too much of a hassle, frankly. Also, I’m a pretty big guy. This story will make me more careful.
    Lucinda! Wasn’t Taix fun? We missed you for Thai food Friday, next time!

  19. Confusing semi-automatic with SMG, perhaps? I might be prone to hyperbole if suburbanites were getting mugged by Uzi-brandishing maniacs. OTOH, if it’s just a Glock, statistically speaking that’s a little more par for the course.

    But it isn’t any less scary for the person getting mugged.

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