A man has been arrested in connection with cell phone thefts at The Abbey.
Sgt. Joe Trinarchi of the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station said security personnel at The Abbey detained a man at around midnight Saturday and discovered four cell phones in his possession. Sheriff’s deputies arrested him and charged him with grand theft of personal property. The man was later identified as Alejandro Martinez, 32.
The issue of cell phone thefts at the popular gay bar and restaurant was raised last month by Ben Coleman, a member of the city’s Public Safety Commission. Lt. David Smith of the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station said then that at least 159 patrons of The Abbey had reported their cell phones lost or stolen since the beginning of this year, a number that he described as very high. Coleman said he suspected that thefts reported to the Sheriff’s Station were likely a small percentage of actual thefts, with many of The Abbey’s customers assuming they had lost their phones.
Coleman told his fellow Public Safety commissioners that he had reached out to The Abbey’s management suggesting it alert customers by giving them a warning flyer when they present their ID cards for admission or including a “pick pocket” warning on the bar’s napkins, much as it does with “don’t drink and drive” napkins during the holidays. Coleman said they declined to do that. In a story broadcast on KTLA yesterday, a reporter said that Coleman has been banned from The Abbey after raising concerns about the phone thefts. The Abbey’s spokesman declined to comment on that.
Smith said he and other deputies met with The Abbey’s management and staff and encouraged them to step up their observance of behavior by customers at the often crowded bar.