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Up to five separate groups of suspects have been burglarizing and stealing vehicles parked in apartment building garages in the Miracle Mile area since July. Police have sent a warning to the public.
Det. Paul Quan, with the Los Angeles Police Department’s Wilshire Division, said he has attributed five separate burglaries and auto thefts to the different groups, and officials are investigating other auto thefts and burglaries in the area that they believe are connected. Several of the burglars have been caught on surveillance camera footage. They are of varying ethnicities and age, and one group includes two men and a woman.
“We a basically putting together five separate alerts on these cases, because the surveillance cameras show that it’s different suspects committing these crimes,” Quan said. “They are all occurring in the 600 blocks on the residential streets that are north and south of Wilshire Boulevard, where there are a lot of apartments with a good cluster of subterranean parking garages.”
Quan would not disclose the exact locations of the burglaries, but provided dates and descriptions of the suspects. The first incident occurred on July 12, and involved a crew of suspects described as two Hispanic men between 20 and 25 years old, between five-feet-nine-inches tall and around 170 to 180 pounds, and a Hispanic woman who was approximately 18 to 25 years old and 125 pounds.
An additional incident occurred on July 26, and involved an African American suspect who was approximately 40 to 50 years old, approximately five-feet-nine-inches tall and weighed 170 pounds. The third burglary occurred on Aug. 18 and involved a suspect who was around 34 to 40 years old and was possibly of Middle Eastern decent. That suspect was approximately five-feet-ten-inches tall and weighed 160 to 180 pounds.
Quan said the most recent burglaries occurred on Aug. 19 and Sept. 5, and both involved African American suspects. He said both suspects were between 30 and 40 years old, around five-feet-ten-inches tall and between 150 to 170 pounds.
The detective said the suspects have used a variety of different methods to break into the vehicles, including smashing windows and picking door locks. Quan said he did not know why the separate groups of thieves began targeting the area at the same time.
“It could be that it’s the summer months and crime is just picking up, or it could be word of mouth that this is a good location. We just don’t know,” Quan said. “We are trying to warn people about the problem so they can protect themselves and help us catch these individuals. We’re also doing our best to increase patrols so we can hopefully catch these people in the act.”
In a couple of the cases, the thieves have stolen a vehicle, but they are mainly breaking in and stealing small electronic items such as laptop computers, iPods, cellular phones and GPS devices. Police are advising people to take those items out of their cars or keep them in the trunk. Quan also said the suspects are mainly committing the burglaries between midnight and 5 a.m. and are targeting vehicles that do not have alarms. The suspects may be posing as residents of the apartment buildings to gain access to the garage.
“These property crimes occur when the owner is not there, so it is very rare we get a good description of the suspects. That’s why, in these cases, we are fortunate there is surveillance video,” Quan added. “We also hope that if someone recognizes these suspects or sees something suspicious, that they will give us a call.”
Anyone with information about the incidents is asked to contact Wilshire Division auto detectives at (213)922-8245.
During weekends and off-hours, call the LAPD’s 24-hour toll-free hotline at (877)LAPD-24-7.
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