A week after an armed robbery and shooting at Il Pastaio, Beverly Hills continues to grapple with the aftermath of the brazen crime. On March 4, three men held up a patron at the storied Italian restaurant at gunpoint, stealing a watch worth $500,000 and shooting a nearby woman. The assailants remain at large, escaping in the moments before the Beverly Hills Police Department (BHPD) arrived. Now, both BHPD and the robbery victim have put out pleas for assistance, with the latter promising a reward of $50,000.
Two days after the incident, Acting Police Chief Dominick Rivetti condemned the crime as “appalling” and sought to reassure residents and guests of the city’s safety. “I want the world to know that Beverly Hills is a very safe community. We invest significantly in our police department to ensure our officers have every resource necessary to do their jobs effectively,” he said in a March 6 statement. “We work closely with our businesses so that shoppers and restaurant guests feel comfortable and secure. And we are vigilant in investigating and bringing to justice those who make the grave mistake of committing crimes here.”
It’s unclear whether the assurances were strictly necessary. In the days following the shooting, Il Pastaio’s outdoor dining appeared as busy as ever, if not more so. Nonetheless, Rivetti committed to increasing security measures with additional private, armed security guards.
Already, the city has seen private security companies including Covered 6 and Nastec, International, patrolling the Business District since the unrest around the election. According to BHPD spokesperson Acting Captain Max Subin, both companies will provide four armed guards each.
“They will be on foot and drive around in cars, providing high visibility,” he told the Courier. “The private armed security will be present through this weekend in this fashion. The security companies will be reevaluated as to the numbers of private armed security to provide safety and visibility to the Beverly Hills community.”
The BHPD also put out an appeal to witnesses who may have filmed the incident. “If you captured video footage of the armed robbery at Il Pastaio on March 4, you can submit the footage to the BHPD,” the Department posted on its Twitter account, including a link to https://beverlyhills.org/PDEvidencePortal. Video can also be submitted anonymously.
In a conversation with the Courier, Il Pastaio founder Giacomino Drago and his wife Alessandra described their feelings after first hearing the news of the attack. “[Our first thought] was just to make sure everybody was safe,” Ms. Drago said. “We have a lot of family working in the restaurant, we have people that come every day. We wanted to make sure that everybody was okay.”
Instead of driving away customers, the incident has galvanized support in the community for the Beverly Hills institution.
“The residents, our guests have been amazing, amazing,” Mr. Drago said. “The next day, they were all there, because they were hungry for the support. That’s what made us feel better, because it was pretty tense to be all over the news.”
In response to the robbery, Il Pastaio has added additional security of its own to its lunch hours. Mr. Drago says that he will continue to work with the city and with BHPD to ensure the safety of his guests.
In a March 4 statement, BHPD said it first received reports of a robbery and gunshots around 2:09 p.m. and arrived on the scene “within 90 seconds.” The three suspects nonetheless escaped. According to Subin, “We are working with our Federal partners and local Law Enforcement agencies to apprehend the suspects that committed the robbery at Il Pastaio.”
Beverly Hills has seen a number of high-profile robberies since the new year. In the last month alone, luxe retailers on Wilshire Boulevard and Rodeo Drive have experienced thefts of their own. In a Feb. 16 incident on the 200 block of Rodeo Drive, an unknown suspect absconded with a charm valued below $950 that they placed inside a purse, which was purchased legally. That same day, two suspects entered a luxury department store in the city, grabbed over $950 worth of clothing from a shelf, and fled to a getaway vehicle. The car’s license plate was captured and the suspects were arrested in Los Angeles.
But at least in January, the most recent month for which data is available, crime still remains at a statistical low. According to the January 2021 BHPD Executive Summary, total crime remains down at “-13 percent year-to-date.”