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Santa Monica Police Arrest Montana Avenue Robbery Suspect After Three Month Search


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By Jorge Casuso

May 31, 2018 -- A robbery suspect whose escape through one of Santa Monica's wealthiest neighborhoods engulfed residents in the manhunt was arrested by Santa Monica Police Tuesday after a three-month search.

Robert Art Abalov was taken into custody in West Los Angeles and charged with six counts for his possible involvement in a jewelry store robbery on Montana Avenue at around 5:30 p.m. February 28, police said.
Robert Art Abalov
Robert Art Abalov (SMPD)

Abalov was in possession of a "suspicious device" initially thought to be a bomb when he demanded merchandise from an employee of Curated Los Angeles jewelry store on the 1600 block of Montana, according to police.

He fled in a vehicle, hitting several parked cars and injuring the occupant of one of the vehicles before fleeing on foot through the North of Montana Neighborhood, police said ("Suspect Remains at Large after Robbing Montana Avenue Jewelry Store," March 1, 2017).

As evening fell, neighbors watched police, tracked the suspect through backyards and otherwise told the tale via social media as it was unfolding ("Neighbors Take to Online Sites as Manhunt for Suspect in Santa Monica Robbery Unfolds," March 2, 2018).

Police quickly identified the suspect based on evidence collected at the crime scene ("Santa Monica Police Identify Suspect in Jewelry Store Robbery," March 2, 2018).

Detectives filed the case with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office-Airport Division and a warrant was issued for Abalov's arrest.

Abalov has been charged with attempted robbery, criminal threats, malicious possession of a false bomb with the Intent to cause fear, false imprisonment, hit-and-run injury collision and grand theft, police said.

Abalov remains in custody with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office on a $170,000 bail pending future court proceedings.

Anyone with information related to this investigation should contact Detective Cooper (310) 458-8478; or the Santa Monica Police Department at (310) 458-8491.


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