Three suspects were arrested on Sept. 21 in connection with a commercial burglary that took place on March 22. The robbery targeted Luxury Jewels of Beverly Hills on South Beverly Drive. On that date, up to six suspects exited a vehicle wearing masks and hooded sweatshirts. They carried crowbars, axes and sledgehammers. The suspects then shattered the front windows of the jewelry store and stole several pieces of expensive jewelry from the display case. They proceeded to flee the scene on foot, abandoning the stolen vehicle they had used to arrive.
According to news reports, approximately $5 million in merchandise was stolen. The Beverly Hills Police Department (BHPD) immediately responded to the burglary scene, set up a camera trailer and provided extra security patrols on South Beverly Drive.
The incident was captured and posted online in videos by eyewitnesses. One video shows the suspects frantically grabbing the stolen goods in broad daylight, as bystanders watch in shock. A neighboring jeweler, Wesley Aframian, saw the incident and intervened. He wasn’t able to detain the suspects but recovered some of the stolen items in the process.
In the course of the ensuing investigation, officers utilized video surveillance footage from private and public cameras. They were able to identify a getaway vehicle and suspects involved in the case. Once suspects were identified, BHPD coordinated with FBI agents and the U.S. Attorney’s office to secure arrest warrants against three individuals.
On Sept. 21, they served the three warrants simultaneously at three locations in Long Beach. The SWAT team made a safe entry into the locations, clearing at least one of the buildings with an interior drone before entering. Tactical operations ended with two arrests: a juvenile suspect and 20-year-old Deshon Bell, both from Long Beach. A 9mm handgun and a high-capacity magazine were recovered from Bell’s residence. Authorities were also able to recover evidence that connected the suspects to the South Beverly Drive robbery.
The third suspect, 31-year-old Jimmy Lee Vernon, was arrested on the same day, overnight, by California Highway Patrol during a traffic stop in Barstow, California.
A fourth suspect connected to the crime, 36-year-old Ladelle Tharpe, had already been in custody prior to the Sept. 21 arrests. He was arrested for an unrelated offense.
According to a statement from the BHPD, the investigation continues and will conclude only when all the remaining suspects are arrested and booked.