Last night just as I pulled the covers over my head… a call came out for a robbery in progress at the Nordstrom Rack at the Howard Hughes Center, the scene of what is often regular teen fighting and mayhem on the weekends. Units arrived at scene, which is a VERY complicated layout with multiple outdoor levels and parking garages. Officers proceeded upstairs and saw a visual of what looked to be a robbery with hostages. Just after arriving on scene officers called for additional units, when a white Ford Explorer with tinted windows and no headlights blazed out of the complex at a high rate of speed. Officers were out of their cars and were unable to get to their cars to pursue fast enough… and the robbers escaped. Here is audio of that part of the incident:
The initial call came in from a boyfriend of one of the employee-hostages who said she was inside with the robbers. The area was locked down for hours. SWAT came in and finally sprung 14 hostages, some of whom were made to undress by their captors. One was sexually assaulted, another stabbed, and another pistol whipped. It was said that the robbers made the employees undress and stay in a closet. As of 7 am the complex was still closed and was considered a crime scene. Culver City PD found the vehicle, and last word is that they know who the assailants are, they just need to find them.
We broadcast the scanner live last night and were up until 4 a.m. tweeting and conversing with residents in the area and others following the story which was insane to listen to. Read the rest from our friend Dennis Romero from the LA Weekly – he followed the happenings live. His story is here: http://blogs.laweekly.com/informer/2013/01/hostage_howard_hughes_center_nordstrom_rack_lapd_robbery_westchester_swat.php
Update: Rick Savage made this remix of the event…