COMPTON, Calif. (KABC) — Sheriff’s deputies in Compton have returned to their patrol duties Monday following a chaotic weekend that involved a series of street takeovers and a mob of looters that left a trail of destruction at local stores.
And, law enforcement officials say they are developing partnerships and a plan to stop the increasingly common occurrence of street takeovers in Compton.
Video captured a wild scene at an Arco gas station near Alondra Boulevard and Central Avenue early Sunday morning where a large group was caught on video bum-rushing an Arco gas station and stealing thousands of dollars’ worth of merchandise, all while the clerk on duty hid inside.
The video shows one man breaking the glass door while dozens of looters crowd behind him. Moments later, the group was seen grabbing everything from drinks, snacks, alcohol and even condoms.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department told Eyewitness News thousands of dollars’ worth of merchandise was stolen and serious damage was done to the store.
Investigators said shots were fired about a block away from the store raid though no injuries were reported. Meanwhile, staff at the gas station told ABC7 the clerk who hid in the bathroom is doing okay.
Residents of Compton say the street takeovers have become a frequent problem in the area in which the looting took place, and they say the scenes captured at the Arco were bound to happen at some point.
“This intersection, this goes down 2 to 3 nights a week. We hear the motors roaring, if you’re close by you probably can’t breathe after they got going,” said Ricky Finley, a resident of Compton.
Deputies with LASD’s Compton station had been responding to several illegal street takeovers earlier in the night Saturday, LASD said.
Investigators said the two largest takeovers took place at the intersections of Long Beach Boulevard and Rosecrans Avenue and near the gas station looting incident.
Both incidents involved illegal street racers with up to 500 people involved, investigators said. LASD said the two incidents both ended with break-ins and vandalism, including a break-in at a laundromat.
Though Compton station deputies had been responding to various incidents through the night, LASD said they are “currently limited with their staffed personnel” and “couldn’t intervene with the giant takeover groups for safety concerns” and because they were “outnumbered.”
“That’s our number one problem is not having the personnel, the units to respond to street takeovers. If we have those personnel respond to just street takeovers there’s no one else left,” said Deputy Miguel Meza of the LASD.
But LASD says amid the short staffing, they’re taking action to try and turn the tide, especially since the city has seen a big spike in robberies and burglaries since the end of 2021.
“We’re going to partner with CHP and LAPD to help us conduct several operations in Compton and other areas to avoid these street takeovers from occurring,” said Meza.
One person was detained, but no arrests have been made.
Meanwhile, Compton residents fear it’ll happen again.
“The people who did this, I don’t think they are Compton residents,” said Kevin Evans. “We don’t tear up our own city like this.”
Compton City Councilmember Jonathan Bowers also blamed outsiders for the looting and vandalism but said the city needs to do more to stop the illegal and dangerous street takeovers.
“I am totally disgusted,” he said. “I’m just upside down behind this. These kids coming in our city and just destroying it like this. In my opinion, the city has not done enough to quell this issue. There are other alternatives and ways to deal with this and I feel like we put it on the back burner and we’re dragging our feet as this thing is getting worse.”
On Sunday evening, officials were able to intervene early and prevent another night of looting and street takeovers from taking place.
Anyone with information on the incidents is urged to contact the sheriff’s department.