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Street Vending

It Took LAPD Two Hours To Show Up After a South L.A. Taco Stand Was Robbed At Gun Point

"As I kept writing down their order, the one in the grey sweater took out the gun. That’s when he said give me the money," said the owner of Tacos Deliciosos.

2:15 PM PDT on July 26, 2023

Screenshot via: Tacos El Delicioso Video

It was exactly 10:33 P.M. when the taquero from Tacos El Delicioso texted: “Apenas nos asaltaron a nosotros,” (“They just robbed us,”) to the other street vendors who are part of South L.A. Emergency's group chat, created by street vendor advocate Edin Alex Enamorado.

The taquero said the entire encounter was captured on their surveillance cameras. Footage that he immediately sent to the group chat to alert all vendors about what happened, and also warning them to be on the lookout for the men in the videos.

In the security footage, the taco stand is seen operating on 92nd and Central Avenue when, at 10:27 P.M., two men are spotted approaching the stand. The men are described as two black males, both wearing different colored hoodies.

Once they approached the stand, the men did what many people do when robbing a street vendor, they first posed as customers.  

“They asked for two tacos and mulitas and when I was writing down their order, I asked what kind of meat did they want, and they said asada," the vendor told Enamorado on an Instagram Live video. "As I kept writing down their order, the one in the grey sweater took out the gun. That’s when he said give me the money.”

The man then grabbed the taquero's arm and twisted it behind his back before beginning to search his pockets for money. The men eventually ran off and at 10:29 P.M. the taquero made his first call to LAPD. 

Screenshot via Tacos El Delicioso. Man with grey hoodie moments before he pulled a gun out.
Screenshot via Tacos El Delicioso. Male with a black hoodie.

Right after this call, he texted the emergency group chat that Enamorado created with street vendors across South L.A. after four taco stands were hit in the span of an hour. All it takes is one text from a street vendor saying they were robbed or attacked to alert all street vendors in their chat to pack up, or to check in to make sure they are okay.

And last night was the first time the chat was put to the test. For taco stands like Tacos El Delicioso, who street vend in a district that has seen multiple attacks, the chat proved to be more efficient than calling LAPD. 

“You got here fast,” said the taquero to Enamorado as he showed his phone to the camera, flashing the time stamp of when he called the police and when he reached out to the street vendor protection advocate. 

It took Enamorado 10 minutes to get there after hearing about the robberies, and it took LAPD two hours to arrive at the scene. At 12:11 P.M. there was still no sign of an officer, but with Enamorado on the scene, the taqueros decided to continue selling tacos while they waited for law enforcement. 

Once police arrived, one of the officers told Enamorado that they were responding to a stabbing not far from the area which delayed their arrival, but many online, including the vendors robbed, wondered why another patrol wasn't dispatched, considering it was an armed robbery. 

“Queremos que cambie” (“We want things to change”), said the taquero who was talking about how long law enforcement took to arrive. 

L.A. TACO did reach out to LAPD for a statement on the delayed response to the crime scene and for more information about the incident but they have yet to respond.

Even before the recent robbery, the stand had already started taking extra precautions when operating, such as offering Zelle, Venmo, and Cash App in an attempt to reduce the amount of cash they have on hand. They had also set up the security cameras that caught footage of last night's robbery and the two suspects.

For now, the vendors will continue to go out to sell. Anyone wanting to support the taco stand can follow them on Instagram for information on the times and days that they sell.

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