Following a robbery and shooting at a local fancy restaurant, Beverly Hills police are hiring private, armed security guards to increase law enforcement presence in the city.
“First and foremost safety is our top priority in Beverly Hills and criminal activity of any kind will not be tolerated,” Police Chief Dominick Rivetti said in a statement on Saturday. “I want the world to know that Beverly Hills is a safe community.”
According to NBC, officers arrived at the restaurant Il Pastaio on Thursday in response to reports of gunfire. One woman had been shot and was taken to the hospital. She was released later that evening in stable condition.
“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.”
The suspects reportedly targeted the restaurant to steal one man’s insanely expensive watch, a rose gold Richard Mille RM 11-03 Flyback Chronograph estimated to be worth $500,000. The man, jeweler Shay Belhassen, is offering a $50,000 reward for information that could be used to retrieve his watch. Belhassen said the suspects put a gun to his head during the robbery.
“It’s a very rare watch, so whoever is going to be offered it is going to know they are being offered stolen stuff,” Belhassen told NBC. He told reporters that he fought with one of the robbers and took their gun during the incident. Police found one of their guns at the scene.
Belhassen is partially blaming police, citing a series of robberies in the areas. In response, the local law enforcement is recruiting private, armed security for the wealthy community.
“We invest significantly in our police department to ensure our officers have every resource necessary to do their jobs effectively,” Rivetti said. “We will be supplementing our personnel with armed, private security guards who will have a strong, visible presence in the city.”