(June 7, 2008) -- LBReport.com, which previously reported that a San Gabriel River bike trail rider was assaulted and robbed of his expensive bike over the 2007 Veterans' Day holiday weekend, has learned of another attack on the popular pathway.
At about 7:15 p.m. (while the sun was still up) on Friday June 6, a rider headed northbound on the eastside of the San Gabriel River bikepath says he was allegedly jumped, physically attacked, punched and robbed in the underpass at Carson St. near El Dorado Park and the LB Town Center.
The victim says the assailant took his wallet, and allegedly grabbed his bike...and the victim yelled at him, alerting a rider heading southbound. The second bike rider became a Good Samaritan by telling the mugger to leave the bike alone...and the alleged assailant ran northward up the bike trail, the victim says.
A call to 911 brought a response from the L.A. County Sheriff's station (including a helicopter) and Deputies apprehended the suspect in the area of the Lakewood Equestrian Center.
The victim was injured (his head bruised and neck twisted)...but got his wallet back.
Information on the attack was contained in an email from the victim for dissemination to local bike enthusiasts. Lakewood Sheriff's station L.A.S.D. Watch Commander/Lt. Steve Sciacca confirmed to LBReport.com that a strong-arm robbery involving the bike path had taken place and that L.A.S.D. did make an arrest, but didn't have details at hand over the weekend and was unable to confirm other information.
The attack comes amid efforts by LB Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske to bring multiple city and county agencies together to tackle San Gabriel River bikeway safety/crime concerns. Among those keeping the pressure applied is the Lakewood Accountability Action Group (LAAG) which regularly emails local officials about safety related issues along the bike path, including graffiti.
As previously reported by LBReport.com, on November 12, 2007 a SG River bike path rider was ambushed, hit and robbed of his bicycle and cell phone and sustained injuries to his face near El Dorado Park.
At the time, Councilwoman Schipske said that her staff was already working with multiple agencies including LBPD, Seal Beach PD, Cypress PD, the L.A. County Sheriffs Dept and the office of L.A. County Supervisor Don Knabe to organize a multi-agency task force to deal with safety issues.
Following the Nov. 12 attack, LAAG emailed LB & Lakewood city officials, LBPD and LASD and L.A. County Supervisor Knabe's office and L.A. County Public Works in part:
We know where the problems are. One thing would be to suggest a crime hotline (posted on all the overpasses visible to users) and email address for users to report suspicious people. LAAG has been doing that for months now...[also refers to cops on bikes]...
Another idea is the "cage off" some of those water inlets right at the opening to the channel which would close off hiding areas. Those are where the criminals hide from the police cars that roll above (as police dont go into the channel bottom with cars). This could be done in a way to allow water flow. Also caging off some of the underpass "caves" like at Willow as we suggested (and was done) years ago at South st. undercrossing. Path lighting would not hurt either (as we suggested) and was done at del amo underpass. Cameras on poles like at intersections and on freeways? Plenty of ideas if you know what the problems are.
On December 21, Councilwoman Schipske wrote on her personally-operated (non-taxpayer-funded) blog in pertinent part:
Because these [L.A. River and SG River] bike paths go through several jurisdictions and also include the Flood Control Districts of both counties, there are many questions as to who is responsible for policing those areas ≠ especially in light of bicyclists being mugged along the path.
I called a meeting of the local jurisdictions together that included: County of Los Angeles, Flood Control District, Cities of La Palma, Los Alamitos, Cypress, Seal Beach, Lakewood and Hawaiian Gardens (which did not attend). We also had representatives from Long Beach ≠ Government Relations, Councilmember O'Donnellís office and Police Department.
The focus of this "bike path safety group" is to determine how we can work together to keep the areas of the bike path and the neighborhoods adjacent free from crime and graffitti.
We will reconvene in February after all jurisdictions receive copies of the agreements for use of the bike paths which apparently were executed many years ago between the cities and the flood control district. Many cities were surprised to learn that the County did not have responsibility for policing the bike path and flood control areas.
This is a great chance to work together on a regional basis on a problem that is impacting many cities.
To this, LAAG responded in part by email that it considered the rivers "crime channels" or "vagrant rivers."