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Investigations following a series of follow-home armed robberies in the downtown Los Angeles area have resulted in the arrests of three suspects, including one suspect who has already been arrested three times this year before he was subsequently released back onto the streets and allowed to repeat the alleged crimes.
Matthew Adams, 18, has been detained for a fourth time this year after he allegedly attacked two UCLA students outside a residence, robbing them of two expensive watches and an iPhone totaling over $145,000, the Los Angeles Police Department said in a statement.
Adams is also believed to be in connection with a series of at least four other follow-home armed robberies — where an assailant follows a victim from a public location before attacking them in a more private location — where he and other assailants followed people leaving upscale restaurants and clubs in the Hollywood area, back to their apartments or hotels, police said.
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Two other men, Eric Wilson and Jayon Sparks, were also arrested alongside Adams in connection with the same crimes, police said. Several other unidentified suspects remain at large, Fox 11 reported.
In one incident, Adams and an unidentified suspect followed two male victims, who were both visiting from outside the country, from a nightclub back to their hotel rooms. Once at the residence, the suspects robbed the victims of a high-end watch and other property before fleeing the scene.
In yet another incident later that same week, Adams, Sparks and other assailants followed two men from a nightclub to an area where they were getting food. The suspects then attacked and robbed the victims of a watch, jewelry, and cash before they fled the scene, police said.
On March 24, LAPD officers arrested and booked Wilson and Sparks in connection with the robberies and, after Metropolitan Division Officers secured a warrant, officers who searched their apartment found weapons, bullets, and stolen items, they said.
Wilson was charged with one count of possession of a firearm while Sparks was charged with two counts of robbery and one count of possession of a firearm, the LAPD said.
On March 31, Adams was arrested during a traffic stop and was charged with one felony count of first-degree residential robbery and six counts of second-degree robbery, and two gun enhancements, for crimes committed between Jan. 7 and March 30, police said.
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If convicted, the 18-year-old suspect faces over 20 years in state prison, the Los Angeles Police Department said.
Adams’ arrest was particularly notable as he was previously arrested on Jan. 9, Jan. 27, and Feb. 21, and was released each time, before he carried out these additional robberies, the LAPD said.
On Jan. 9, Adams was arrested for his involvement in robbing a high-end jewelry store two days prior. He subsequently posted bond.
On Jan. 27, Adams was arrested and charged with carrying a concealed weapon but was subsequently released.
On Feb. 21, Adams was arrested again for carrying a concealed weapon. He was again released.
LAPD Chief Michel Moore has attributed lenient detainment protocols, which allow repeat offenders to be released back onto the streets, to new policies enacted under Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón.
Moore has repeatedly called for additional sentencing enhancements, which he says would keep repeat offenders locked up, and renewed these calls during a Police Commission meeting Tuesday.
“Today, we see that the use of enhancements has been sharply curtailed,” the Los Angeles chief said, Patch reported. “I believe that’s inconsistent with the underlying importance of those enhancements as to deterring others from being engaged in serious violent felonies with the use of a firearm.”
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“While I appreciate the filings that have been obtained, I’m disappointed that the full weight of the existing laws and the support of our district attorney and the court to hold this individual responsible and accountable and keep him from the community was missed,” Moore added, according to the report.