PaliHi Students Robbed in Alley by Methodist Church

Palisades High School students were robbed in this busy alleyway that connects Haverford Avenue to Via de la Paz, via stairs. Preschool, elementary and high school students all use the thoroughfare.

A resident wrote Circling the News that a “couple of Palisades High School students” were robbed around 5 p.m. on March 21, in the alleyway next to the Methodist Church. According to the teens, a car with three black males stopped them and the driver said, “Give us all your shit.”

The students, who believed that one of the men was holding a handgun, gave up their phones, etc., and the suspects drove off. The students returned to the high school and called a parent, who drove them to the West L.A. Police station to file a report.

Circling the News contacted Senior Lead Officer Brian Espin and West L.A. Commander Captain Jonathan Tom.

Espin replied, “The students were hanging out in an alley in the area of Bowdoin and Via De La Paz. Suspect’s vehicle drove up and two suspects exited the vehicle and asked for property. Victims gave suspects property. Both suspects re-entered the vehicle and drove away.  While the vehicle was driving away the victim observed the driver suspect in the vehicle with what appeared to be a gun in the suspect’s lap. The gun was not used during the incident, but was observed as the vehicle drove away.”

Espin said that he had been in contact with patrol officers and the beach patrol officers, who had been directed to be in the area (of the church) for extra patrol.

Tom said, “Due to the myriad of issues and complaints that Palisades residents have, we are being pulled in many different directions and cannot guarantee extra patrol on a regular basis based on the one incident. That being said, we will make sure that the assigned officers as available are spending time in that area after school for at least the next week.”

Circling the News explained to LAPD that the “alleyway” is heavily trafficked by pedestrians: preschool, elementary and high school kids, because Bowdoin Street dead ends in the church parking lot by a stairwell.

That stairwell connects Radcliffe and Haverford Streets with Via de la Paz and the Village.

In the mornings, that area is filled with parents dropping off children at the Methodist Preschool. Also, numerous parents walk older kids to either Palisades Elementary, located at the corner of Bowdoin and Via de la Paz, or to Village School at the corner of Swarthmore and Bowdoin.

The flow of pedestrian traffic returns in the afternoon, when Palisades High students access the stairs to go into town and to wait for the Metro and Big Blue buses.

Generally, the kids who take the late bus from PaliHi make a dash (around 5 p.m.) up to the Palisades Garden Café to eat before heading home.



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7 Responses to PaliHi Students Robbed in Alley by Methodist Church

  1. Abner says:

    The Palisades has gone to pits! Bring back our old SLO, RUSTY!!!! Someone send up a Red Bat Signal! I never see cops around since he left.

  2. Nina Madok says:

    With all due respect to Captain Tom, I respectfully disagree that Palisadians are sending mixed messages. The motto of the LAPD, clearly visible on every car, is “To Protect and Serve.” That is what we expect from our public servants, that is what we are asking for. Whether it is illegal parking, human defecation on private property, drug dealing in Palisades Village, armed robbery at a Christmas party or the robbery of high school students where a gun is observed, these are all crimes. Whether a prosecutor chooses to hold people accountable, they are still crimes. And we are asking our police department to protect us and hold those committing crimes accountable. That is what we are asking for. Public safety. And we should not have to be affluent enough to hire private security to expect that. I believe in the motto. And so do all Palisadians. All we are asking for is for our officers “to protect and serve.”

  3. Jared Kowsky says:

    Crime has gone up since Rusty left. It shows how much work and dedication he had when he was here and unfortunately we took that for granted. I don’t feel safe in this neighborhood anymore and I don’t have confidence in the LAPD. Bring back Rusty so we can all sleep better at night!!

  4. T Mori says:


  5. Frustrated in the Palisades says:

    The response from Commander Captain Jonathan Tom is infuriating and consistent. A few months ago, a man entered two of my neighbor’s cars and then attempted to enter my home. I had the entire incident on camera. After posting the footage on the NextDoor app, it became clear that the same suspect was detained by LAPD the night before. Two patrol officers came to my home hours after I called them. I explained the connection with photographic evidence of it being the same suspect. They said a detective would follow up. That never happened and the Captain said they were too busy to chase down every NextDoor lead. This was an open and closed case where they already knew the identity of the suspect and yet they still refused to even investigate it any further.

  6. cindy simon says:

    Captain Tom’s response sounds like gaslighting. We ask law enforcement for safety & follow up from crimes committed – he turns it around into Palisades resident’s fault for keeping him too busy with this request (to do his job) ie “pulling him in different directions”. It’s simple / every resident everywhere deserves to be safe & secure in their community and when someone(s) (these 3 criminals) prevents that, we want the police to help us out.

  7. The responses from Espin and Tom are problematic. Why were the teens described as “hanging out”? To give the impression they were up to something and somehow culpable in their own robbery? Robbed in broad daylight, with a weapon clearly visible (keeping it handy is okay I guess) is not a big deal? In a place used by children of all ages to walk to and from school? A myriad of issues and being pulled in different directions should he translated as a lot of crimes are being committed in our neighborhoods. We’re told to be vigilant and report anything unusual, then we’re told they can’t be bothered to check it out because no crime was committed, then a crime is committed and they are too busy and confused to deal with it. C’mon.

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