A white SUV was discovered early Friday morning at the intersection of Washington Boulevard and Globe Avenue in Culver City that matches the description of a getaway vehicle used in a robbery at Nordstrom Rack in Westchester Thursday night, police said.
Police are still searching for two male suspects who made off with an undisclosed sum of money.
Several Culver City residents reported airships hovering over Culver City early Friday morning and Culver City Police Lt. Neilson told Patch CCPD assisted LAPD in setting up a perimeter following the incident, which occurred late Thursday night.
Culver City Police found the vehicle early Friday morning at around 6 a.m. and alerted LAPD. However, Lt. Nielsen said no local officers are involved in the case.
LAPD SWAT officers eventually rescued 14 people who were hiding in a storage room at the Nordstrom Rack store in Westchester at around 3:30 a.m.
A white SUV with two people inside was seen leaving the shopping center parking lot around the time the robbery was reported, said Lt. Andy Neiman, a Los Angeles Police Department spokesman.
The robbery at the store at the Promenade at Howard Hughes Center was reported just after 10 p.m. Thursday by a spouse or boyfriend of an employee of the store, said Neiman.
The employee, a woman, phoned the man asking him to report to police that two men armed with handguns had come into the store, which closes at 10 p.m., Neiman said.
Responding officers saw a man coming out of the store and run back inside when he saw police. A short time later, a man leaving the store with a woman spotted officers and forced the woman back into the store, Neiman said.
It was unclear if the woman was a customer or store employee, he said, adding that police were concerned that there might be additional hostages.
Around 3:30 a.m., a SWAT team entered the store and let out 14 people – 13 women and 1 man - all believed to be either customers or employees, who had been in a storage room in the rear of the store, Neiman said.
One hostage was stabbed and another was sexually assaulted. Both were treated at the scene this morning and released. The Los Angeles Times reports that the woman who was stabbed was struck in the neck.
“As we interviewed and debriefed all of the hostages, we learned that one of the hostages was stabbed,” Neiman told Fox11. “That hostage has been treated for a non-life-threatening wound ... and also, sadly, one of the other hostages was sexually assaulted. We're not going to go into any detail on that sexual assault.”
Neiman said it was unclear at what point during the incident that the sexual assault occurred.
“It's tragic ... that somebody has to go and endure that kind of trauma,” Neiman said.
Hours after the incident began police also released about 200 people who were stranded inside a cinema at the shopping center while the crisis played out, Neiman said. They had been sheltering in place with police protection, he said.
Patch will bring you more details as they become available.