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Police Searching for Robber Disarmed by Downtown Security Guard

By Eric Richardson
Published: Monday, June 28, 2010, at 08:53AM
TEC-9 Ssemi-automatic pistol LAPD

Photo of the gun a security guard seized from a man who tried to steal his wallet outside the World Trade Center on Thursday.

A robber armed with a TEC-9 semi-automatic pistol got a little more than he had bargained for when he attempted to take the wallet of an unarmed Downtown security guard last week.

While doing rounds at the World Trade Center just after midnight on Thursday, June 24, the guard saw a black van stop near the corner of 3rd and Figueroa. A man exited dressed in a full Lakers uniform, walked toward the guard and asked, "Where’s Figueroa Street?" When the guard pointed toward the street, the man pulled the gun from behind his back and said, “Give me your wallet or I’ll kill you!”

The guard did hand over his wallet, but a moment later used the robber's momentary distraction to grab the gun with one hand and use the other to hit the man over the head with his flashlight.

The robber fell back, releasing his grip on the gun. The security guard ran away with the weapon and called police. Authorities later found the gun's magazine and the robber's glasses at the scene. The weapon and the bloody flashlight were also added to evidence.

“We hope we’ll able to identify the robber through prints or DNA,” said Lt. Paul Vernon, head of Central detectives. “But in the mean time, maybe someone will remember seeing a black man in his forties with a gash on his head and wearing a bloody Lakers uniform. If so, give us a call.”

The incident and its resolution were both unusual.

“It’s rare to see this type of weapon on the street, and even rarer to have the victim disarm his assailant,” Vernon said. “While we don’t recommend such actions on the part of victims, every victim has to assess their situation, based on their fear, confidence, and ability. This victim believed the robber was going to shoot him.”

Anyone with information on the incident is urged to call Detective Al Rasch, Central Robbery Unit, at (213) 972-1245.

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