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Beverly Hills Adding Armed, Private Security After Robbery At Chic Restaurant

BEVERLY HILLS (CBSLA) - Armed, private security guards will be deployed in Beverly Hills in response to a robbery and shooting at an upscale restaurant, Police Chief Dominick Rivetti said Saturday.

"First and foremost safety is our top priority in Beverly Hills and criminal activity of any kind will not be tolerated," Rivetti said in a statement. "I want the world to know that Beverly Hills is a safe community.

"We invest significantly in our police department to ensure our officers have every resource necessary to do their jobs effectively. We will be supplementing our personnel with armed, private security guards who will have a strong, visible presence in the city."

Officers were called about 2:10 p.m. Thursday to Il Pastaio in the 400 block of North Canon Drive, near Santa Monica Boulevard, on a report of a robbery with gunfire, and arrived to find a woman who had been shot.

The victim was not the intended target, according to police.

"The female was at the location with two other people when three male suspects demanded property from another patron," according to a Beverly Hills Police Department statement. "One of the suspects shot the female and the three suspects fled the location on foot."

Witnesses told CBS2 that the suspects stole a man's watch as he sat in the restaurant's patio area at the corner of Canon Drive and Brighton Way. The watch was a rose gold Richard Mille RM 11-03 Flyback Chronograph estimated to be worth $500,000, and belonged to jeweler Shay Belhassen, according to the Los Angeles Times.

"I can't be wearing anything fancy or stuff like that because it's not safe anymore. It shouldn't be like that," said local Peter Fouad. 

Belhassen has offered a $50,000 reward for information that leads to the capture of the suspects and return of the watch.

He said he was angered because the robbery was the latest of a series of similar crimes in the area in recent weeks and said he believes police aren't doing enough about them.

Belhassen told The Times one of the perpetrators "ran and pulled a gun from his jacket pocket, grabbed me from the back of my chair, choking me and putting a gun to my head."

Belhassen said he grabbed the gun and fought the robber to the ground.

The attention the robbery has received will make it difficult for the robbers to sell the watch, Belhassen told The Times.

"It's a very rare watch, so whoever is going to be offered it is going to know they are being offered stolen stuff," he said.

The wounded woman, whose name was not released, was treated at a hospital and released Thursday evening, according to multiple broadcast reports.

A second person who was pushed as suspects fled the area was treated at the scene, BHPD Capt. Max Subin told reporters.

"It's one of those things where you still have to be aware of your surroundings anyhow," said Beverly Hills visitor Brandi Day. "So I think it's just a good idea just to make sure that you're always on alert." 

Police have not publicly released a detailed description of the suspects. Fox11 reported surveillance cameras near the restaurant captured images of the robbers.

Police are asking anyone with information related to the shooting to text TIP BEVHILLSPD, followed by the message, to 888777.

"We are actively looking for suspects in this case, in cooperation with our law enforcement partners," Rivetti said. "While similar crimes are also happening in other cities, our responsibility is to those who live in, work in and visit Beverly Hills.

"We will keep the community updated on this incident, but in the meantime, please rest assured that the Beverly Hills Police Department is taking every possible measure to ensure your safety and security."

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)


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