Enhanced enforcement of illegal vending on the Santa Monica Pier resulted in two arrests this weekend with police seizing an unregistered gun from a 14-year-old vendor and in a separate incident, a vendor was arrested in connection with a November assault.
In the first incident, SMPD officers assigned to an unlicensed vendor task force were patrolling Parking Lot 1 North, adjacent to the Pier, when they saw a group of vendors gathered around a pick-up truck loaded with carts. A man in the group lifted his shirt and officers saw the handle of a black handgun above his waistband.
During the altercation, the large group of vendors attempted to intervene on behalf of the armed suspect.
“Despite the vendors taunting and verbally abusive behaviors toward the officers, SMPD officers successfully detained and disarmed the individual,” said SMPD in a statement. “Officers on scene required the immediate assistance of additional officers to assist with the safe departure from the area with the arrested individual.”
Following the arrest, officers learned the individual was a 14-year old minor who had been operating one of the unlicensed cart and Lt. Rudy Flores said SMPD would be investigating why a child was operating an illegal food stand in addition to the gun charge.
Flores said the weapon lacked a serial number and the “ghost-gun” along with a high capacity loaded magazine were booked into SMPD property as evidence.
The minor was booked for carrying a loaded firearm and possession of high-capacity magazine.
In the second case, Antonia Murcia, 18, was arrested for a Nov. 21 fight between two unlicensed hot dog vendors.
According to SMPD, Murcia was involved in a fight with another female vendor that ended when Murcia pushed a hotdog cart at the victim, causing hot oil to spill onto the victims arms and hands. Murcia was videotaped during that altercation but she fled the scene before officers arrived.
On Jan. 8, at approximately 5:30 p.m. officers noticed Murcia standing in front of Hot Dog on a Stick in the 1600 block of Ocean Front Walk. She was detained and taken into custody without incident. Murcia was booked for assault with a deadly weapon.
Anyone with additional information pertaining to these incidents are strongly encouraged to contact Detective Spenser 310-458-8420 or the Watch Commander (24 hours) at 310-458-8426.