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BHPD Makes Arrest in Alleged Hate Crime
On Nov. 4, an alleged hate crime took place at Café Istanbul on the 300 block of South Beverly Drive. At approximately 8:30 p.m., a group of male subjects entered the café and proceeded to destroy property inside the establishment while making pro-Armenia comments. The suspects physically attacked the employees inside the restaurant and later in the alley outside of the restaurant. The victims sustained minor injuries and refused medical treatment at the scene.
On Nov. 12, the Beverly Hills Police Department (BHPD) released a statement that read: “A joint investigation with The Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Los Angeles County Probation Department, resulted in the arrest of one of the primary suspects responsible for a hate crime in the City of Beverly Hills on Nov. 4, 2020. The suspect was arrested this morning in the City of Glendale.” The investigation revealed that between 6-8 suspects were involved in the crime.
The suspect, William Stepanyan, age 22 of Glendale, was arrested for PC 422.5-Hate Crime; PC 211-Robbery; PC 459-Burglary; PC 594 (b)-Vandalism. A probation violation hold has been issued for Stepanyan, and he is currently being held without bail at the Beverly Hills Police Department. Stepanyan’s next court date is scheduled for Nov. 16, in Department 31 at the Airport Courthouse.
Sam Turac, a nephew of the restaurant owner, spoke to the Courier shortly after the incident. He providing additional details about the event.
“Three or four gentlemen entered the store and started breaking stuff. We had five members of our family here at the time.
The men started throwing chairs at my uncle, who got up and went to the front to protect my aunt. But my aunt realized there were several other men with the group just waiting, so she pulled my uncle back in. They completely trashed the place. They shattered all of our computers. One of the guys picked up my aunt’s phone and put it in his pocket. My uncle went to the E.R., because he had bruises from where the chair hit him,” said Turac.
Turac’s family has owned Café Istanbul since 2012.
“We are here because we don’t support our government, that’s the reason we came here,” Turac told the Courier. “I understand why the Armenian kids are frustrated. But this kind of crime is not acceptable. This is not the way to discuss things. The place is completely shattered.”
The BHPD asks that anyone with information about this crime or about the outstanding suspects contact them at 310-285-2125. If you would like to remain anonymous, text BEVHILLSPD followed by the tip information to 888777. The public can also call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477. To access Crime Stoppers, download the “P3 Tips” Mobile App or use online by visiting http://www.lacrimestoppers.org.