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Compton residents demand action on ‘smash and grabs’


A common occurrence in city

One week after a mob of looters recklessly ransacked a Mexican bakery in Compton following a street takeover, community leaders say they've had enough.

The Compton Public Safety Commission held a meeting Monday night to discuss street takeovers, which have become a common occurrence in the city.

"Being a native of Compton, we have respect. You don't destroy your family's business," said Chairman Bishop L.J. Guillory.

On Jan. 2, the large group broke into Ruben's Bakery & Mexican Food near the intersection of El Segundo Boulevard and Santa Fe Avenue. According to the Compton Sheriff's Station, it stemmed from a street takeover in the area with about 100 people.

Surveillance footage shows a group of what appears to be young men and women raiding the store, jumping on counters, stealing food and taking cash registers.

Investigators said the group even used a white Kia Soul to crash into the building.

Former Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley was invited to Monday's meeting, sharing his ideas to combat the alarming crimes.

"Enforce, enforce, enforce," he said.

Sgt. Jeanette Rubio with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said most street takeovers are carried out by people who don't live in Compton.

"We need a lot of reinforcement muscle," she said.

Cooley said he believes those changes can deter reckless drivers.

"Seizing the cars and issuing citations and making appropriate arrests, if necessary," he said. "Then, prosecution."

He also suggested the California Highway Patrol help with enforcement as LASD deals with staffing shortages.

"They've got hundreds of CHP officers, I think, helping out a local agency, such as the sheriff's department, with a very specific vehicle-related problem is something right up their alley," said Cooley.

The public safety commissioners say they will now bring these suggestions to the Compton City Council for further discussion.