Investigators with the Los Angeles Police Department’s Wilshire Division are warning people not to leave their keys in vehicles parked tandem in apartment and condominium building parking structures.
Det. Sal Loera, with the Wilshire Division Auto Burglary Unit, said auto thefts involving vehicles with keys left inside are increasing. Motorists sometimes leave keys inside to allow neighbors or roommates to move the car if necessary.
“There has been a big increase in the last four weeks. We have been getting three or four a week,” Loera said. “Sometimes they steal multiple vehicles, or when they break into cars, they also steal the remote and come back later. When they click on that it opens the gate, or they sneak in when the gate opens and someone drives in.”
The thefts have primarily occurred in the neighborhoods around Burton Way and San Vicente/La Cienega Boulevards, as well as on Drexel Avenue and Detroit Street. Loera stressed that the thefts can occur anywhere.
Investigators believe a crew of auto theft suspects may be responsible for the recent increase in thefts. On Aug. 4, officers arrested two suspects, one male and one female, who allegedly committed multiple auto thefts in the Wilshire Division. Loera described them as being in their 20s.
Detectives had previously distributed bulletins with surveillance camera images of the suspects taken at one of the crime scenes. Patrol officers recognized the suspects while they were driving in a vehicle stolen from a neighborhood near Burton Way. The detective declined to provide their names because of an ongoing investigation. The pair was also allegedly involved in similar crimes in the LAPD’s West Los Angeles Division.
“They confessed to multiple GTAs and burglaries,” Loera said. “We are still looking for two others. They are an experienced crew.”
The suspects still sought are described as Hispanic women in their 20s.
Loera added that the best strategy is to always keep windows and doors locked, and valuables out of sight and locked away. Anyone with information is urged to call Wilshire Division auto burglary detectives at (323)922-8205.
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