The Beverly Hills Police Department (BHPD) had made an arrest in the burglary of the high-end seafood restaurant Crustacean. The restaurant, which is located on North Bedford Drive in the Business Triangle, was targeted in the early morning of Jan. 2, losing an estimated $128,000 in money and liquor.
According to BHPD Public Information Officer Lt. Giovani Trejo, officers arrested James Terrell Williams, 47, of Los Angeles on Jan. 4 for the incident. Officers picked up Williams near the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and La Brea Avenue.
Crustacean did not respond to a request for comment.
Trejo explained that the hefty haul from Crustacean included top-shelf liquor.
“It’s not so much the amount of liquor that he stole, but the price of the liquor he stole,” Trejo said, though he could not provide any brand information. “That’s what made the total go over the $100,000 mark.”
Williams has a lengthy rap sheet going back at least as early as 1999. He also has a preferred target, according to Trejo.
“We investigated him in 2021 for two separate incidents involving commercial burglaries [in Beverly Hills],” Trejo said. “His MO appears to be commercial burglary, where he targets businesses.”
One of those incidents occurred on Feb. 2, 2021, according to Trejo. In that case, Los Angeles Superior Court records indicate that Williams was sentenced on Dec. 20 to 16 months in state prison for one count of burglary. It was not immediately clear how or why Williams was out of custody by the time of the Crustacean burglary.
Trejo said this was part of a recent pattern of criminals reoffending after release.
“We keep seeing arrestees with lengthy convictions for the same offense, like in this particular case,” Trejo told the Courier. “This is the revolving door that we are seeing constantly, where we arrest someone for an offense that he or she was convicted of literally months before the commission of a crime here in Beverly Hills.”
Thanks in part to his history of offenses in the city, Trejo said that BHPD detectives promptly closed in on Williams as a suspect. Detectives were also aided by surveillance footage.
“They’re definitely familiar with the MO and they started to put the pieces together,” he said. “That’s the detective work that some of our people are doing here where some of these repeat offenders like Mr. Williams, he is now known by detectives because of the way he operates.”
While property crime is down in Beverly Hills, the business community has been shaken by a series of high-profile robberies and attempted burglaries. Todd Johnson, Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce President and CEO, says that businesses everywhere are worried, not just in Beverly Hills. He insisted, though, that Beverly Hills remains safer than most places.
“I don’t think businesses that are coming to Beverly Hills should be scared,” he told the Courier. “Crime is a part of life, but we have one of the best police departments in the country.”