MONTEBELLO (CBSLA) — Police are searching for a number of suspects who smashed a glass display case with a hammer, causing a panic after word spread on social media that there had been a shooting.
“At first I thought it was like an actual shooter or something, so that’s why I ran out,” Itzel Olmedo, a shopper, said. “But once I learned that it was just a robbery, I was like, ‘Why would they do that, to stir up so much chaos.'”
According to Montebello Police Department, officers were dispatched to the Shops at Montebello regarding a robbery at approximately 5:18 p.m.
When officers arrived, they discovered that four or five male subjects armed with hammers walked up to a jewelry kiosk, smashing the cases and taking the jewelry inside.
The suspects were described at black men wearing dark clothing armed with hammers. They fled before police arrived on the scene.
Montebello PD and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said initial reports of an active shooter situation were unfounded.
There is NO ACTIVE SHOOTER at the Montebello Mall… suspect smashing glass with a hammer only @MontebelloPD
— LA County Sheriffs (@LASDHQ) December 24, 2019
Montebello PD, LASD and the California Highway Patrol were in the process of checking stores for patrons who might have sheltered in place during the chaos. Those who were separated from their loved ones were tpld to go to the Kaiser Hospital parking lot for reunification.
#MontebelloMall @ShopsMontebello will remain closed for the remainder of the night. Reunification point will be Kaiser Hospital parking lot for anyone that was separated from their group. #smashandgrab
— Montebello PD (@MontebelloPD) December 24, 2019
The mall will remain closed for the rest of the night.
Anyone with information about the robbery was asked to call Montebello police.