If you’re looking to pick a pocket at a bar or nightclub in West Hollywood, you might want to avoid Flaming Saddles, which actually has a sign at the door calling you out.
The gay club at the northeast corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Larrabee Street was itself called out at Monday night’s Public Safety Commission by Chair Jeffrey Waack for posting the warning sign.
No one wants to have a sign by their door saying “pickpockets” Waack acknowledged. He then praised Flaming Saddles for “doing something proactively about this problem.” Waack said that the Abbey and other bars have resisted taking steps to warn their customers about the problem.
Waack made his comment during the presentation of the monthly crime report by the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station. The report for May noted there were 11 pickpocket thefts – usually of cellphones — at the Abbey that month, two at Mickey’s, Trunks and Mother Lode and none at Rage, Hi Tops, 1Oak, and Beaches. In the past five months, there were a total of 70 pickpocket thefts at the Abbey, 35 at Mickey’s, 10 at Trunks, eight at Rage, three at Mother Lode, two at Beaches and 1 Oak and none at Hi Tops. The report doesn’t adjust the data to account for the size of the crowds at those bars. Given that the Abbey is one of the most popular in West Hollywood, the number of pickpocket thefts per customer may be relatively small.
In an email exchange with WEHOville, Chris Barnes, who co-owns Flaming Saddles with Jacqui Squatriglia, said “the problem is real and up to us to solve. Pickpocketing is a tourist epidemic in France and the U.K and they are proactive about it. I actually customized their street signs of alert for Flaming Saddles.”
“We also hired undercover security who roam the entire club with look outs on the catwalk and steps with laser pointers when we see suspicious characters — usually a team of two to four. One takes the phone, passes it off to another or one starts a conversation with the other behind.”
“It makes us sick that people come out for a good time and predators ruin their night,” Barnes said. “Yet, people are extremely careless as well. We are constantly finding customers leaving their bags, phones, purses, unattended. There are some great products out there that minimize the threat. I highly suggest people use them…”
“We let suspicious people know we are watching, because…WE F-CKING ARE !!!”
I put my phone either in the leg of my sock, where I also put my cash, credit card and I.D., or in the front of my underwear.
This will serve as my good deed for the day!
I caught a woman trying to take my phone out of my front pocket on the Abbey dance floor. She ran off in the crowd. She didn’t get my phone but four of my friends had their phones stolen that night. I met with security hoping to show them exactly where it happened so they could isolate her on security cam but they declined. My friends didn’t file police reports because they knew their phones wouldn’t be recovered so my guess is the numbers you report are just a fraction of the real number of incidents.
FILE THE REPORT. We’ve all seen the articles where LAPD busts someone for doing something stupid, and next thing they know they uncover thousands of dollars in stolen merchandise. If the police don’t have your info, then you won’t get your stuff back. Bringing attention to the problem, by filing a report, is the only way that these businesses will listen and take people seriously. Businesses don’t want customers to have a bad time, but if it becomes apparent that certain locations are known hot spots, it will detract potential customers from going there, and force places to beef up… Read more »
Totally agree with below! Report it. You can file a report online (unless you have an iPhoneX — that $1,000 threshold means you have to go to the station). It’s super fast and easy. And it is critical as LASD looks at crime trends and decided how to devote resources.
Use the online form and it only take a few moments: http://shq.lasdnews.net/shq/SORTS/sorts_intro.aspx
Flaming Saddles is actually located on the northeast corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Larrabee.
Good catch! The story has been corrected