A 40-year-old Baldwin Hills resident was arrested on April 15 for allegedly committing a string of commercial burglaries during March and April in the Melrose and Wilshire areas.
The suspect, who was identified as Patrick Leroy Taylor, was charged Monday with two counts of burglary and grand theft, but police believe he is likely involved in at least five burglaries in the local area, and possibly more. The burglaries occurred between March 15 and April 12. Taylor was arrested at his apartment in Baldwin Hills by officers from the LAPD Wilshire Division’s Special Problems Unit after detectives identified him from witness reports and surveillance video.
Investigators later served a search warrant at Taylor’s apartment and recovered numerous items they believe are stolen, including leather jackets, power tools, cellular phones, electronic appliances and several gasoline powered engines used for motor scooters.
“Our evidence is based on the M.O. (method of operation), in that he would break in or force entry,” said Det. Ernie Rodriguez, with the LAPD’s Wilshire Division. “He was known for cutting phone lines to disable an alarm system or using a sledgehammer to bust open doors. It was forced entry, no finesse.”
Rodriguez said Taylor allegedly committed burglaries at the high-end clothing stores Chloe, located at 8448 Melrose Pl., and J.L. Marks, located at 8238 W. 3rd St. He said all of the burglaries occurred between 8:00pm and 6:00am when the stores were closed, and took place in an area bounded by Melrose Avenue to the north, Wilshire Boulevard to the south, Fairfax Avenue to the east, and La Cienega Boulevard to the west.
Rodriguez said Taylor was identified by witnesses who were doing inventory inside one of the closed stores when one of the burglaries occurred. In the other cases, investigators are currently reviewing surveillance video and checking the serial numbers on items recovered from the suspect’s apartment. Taylor is also being investigated for two commercial burglaries that occurred on Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood in March, according to Lt. Lawrence Delmese, with the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station. Delmese said both incidents were “smash-and-grab” type break-ins, but he did not have specific information on the cases. Rodriguez said he is coordinating with the West Hollywood sheriff’s detectives and officials in Beverly Hills to identify additional crimes that may be attributed to Taylor.
Rodriguez added that he is trying to determine the owners of the items that were seized at Taylor’s residence. Several leather jackets, for instance, have sales tags attached that do not identify what store they came from. Many of the other items, such as several cellular phones, are also in unopened boxes. Police also seized burglary tools, including a heavy-duty metal cutting saw that could be used to cut open security bars, and tree trimming equipment that may have been used to cut telephone lines.
“We recovered a lot of things that could be construction tools, but this guy isn’t in construction,” Rodriguez added. “There is a sledgehammer, a reciprocal saw that could defeat any kind of barrier a merchant puts up. He had tree trimming equipment, but he doesn’t have any trees.”
Jane Robison, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, said Taylor has been released on bail pending an arraignment on May 6.
Rodriguez said he is currently putting together a list of the items that he plans to distribute to other police departments to determine if they match additional burglaries. He is also asking storeowners in the local area to call investigators at (213)922-8205 if their stores have been burglarized and they recognize any of the stolen merchandise.
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