A Starbucks restaurant in Hollywood was one of six Los Angeles locations that were shuttered by the coffee chain after witnesses said that an armed individual held up customers in a “hostage situation,” according to a local report.
The Starbucks near Hollywood Blvd. and Vine St. — a stone’s throw from the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame — was one of 16 locations nationwide the Seattle-based company announced would be closed down.
Starbucks claimed that rampant crime, homelessness, and tense encounters between staffers and mentally ill people forced its hand in shuttering the locations.
A company spokesperson told the Los Angeles Times that “a high volume of challenging incidents that make it unsafe to continue to operate” prompted the announced closures.
Sara Blair, a Hollywood resident, told the Times that she once noticed a large contingent of police officers surrounding the cafe on Hollywood and Vine after someone entered with a weapon in what was later determined to be a “hostage situation.”
The Post has reached out to Starbucks and the Los Angeles Police Department seeking more information.
She also said the Starbucks site was often hit with vandalism. Passersby would notice windows being smashed in and boarded up, the Times reported.
Still, Blair was “so sad” to learn the local Starbucks was closed for good.
“It’s my favorite Starbucks,” Blair told the Times.
Aside from the LA locations, Starbucks also shut down six additional stores in its home base of Seattle; two restaurants in Portland, Ore.; and one location each in Washington, DC, and Philadelphia.
The company said that it was receiving feedback from store managers who were struggling to cope with drug users occupying the bathrooms as well as rowdy customers who would commit crimes such as theft and assault.
But union representatives said that two of the Seattle locations that were shuttered were stores where the employees were engaged in organized labor activities — and that the company was using crime as a pretext to retaliate against them.
Howard Schultz, the interim CEO of Starbucks, said earlier this summer that he was giving store managers discretion to alter the chain’s “open bathroom” policy due to mounting concerns over public safety.
In 2018, Starbucks allowed non-customers to use its bathrooms after two black men who were sitting inside a coffee shop in Philadelphia without having ordered anything were arrested.