CyberWatch is again publishing a list of all crimes in South Shores. Home burglaries are reduced thanks to increasing vigilance of CyberWatch members and the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic. Not that home burglars are especially health conscious. It’s just that page one of the “Home Burglars Handbook” warns against breaking in when people are home. That would amount to “home invasion”. And home invasion carries a much stiffer penalty than breaking in when no one’s home. Increased risk = decreased home burglaries.
Make sure all doors and windows are locked when you leave your home. Even if you’re just running down to the supermarket for a few minutes. A while back, a South Shores resident on 22nd St. left his home unsecured for just a few minutes to pick up kids after school. Upon returning home with the kids, he saw the suspects running from his home..with his stuff… and jumping into a getaway car!
More folks have Ring doorbells and video camera systems than ever before. They work fine, if you want to see what the guys who ransacked your home kind of look like. If you want to help prevent becoming a victim, make sure there’s a sign near your home’s entrance announcing you have home security of some kind. CyberWatch has learned over the past 9 years that the vast majority of burglars avoid breaking into homes that have such signs. Over 90% of the homes that were burglarized had no such signs.
Here’s a list of the police reports from South Shores during the 1st quarter (Jan 1 to March 31) of this year. Bear in mind, not all crimes are reported to the police. CyberWatch recommends that if you become a victim, please take the time to file a police report. One good reason: there’s a direct link between the number of crimes reported in a given area and the number of regular patrols that area receives.
HOME BURGLARIES – 2
March 10: 1700 block of Cumbre Dr. – 8:00 a.m.
March 12: Same location on Cumbre Dr. – See below for details published earlier in the March 18 CyberWatch Alert.
STOLEN VEHICLES – 2
March 10: 1800 block of Vallecito Dr. – 9:30 p.m.
March 31: 2200 block of Amirante Dr. – 5:00 p.m.
THEFT FROM VEHICLE – 6
January 4: 1600 block of 22nd St. – 12:00 p.m.
February 1: 2100 block of W. 25th St. – 8:35 p.m.
February 2: 1400 block of W. 25th St.. – 7:02 p.m.
March 23: Mantis Ave. at Morse Dr. – 9:55 p.m. – Grand theft ($950.01 and over).
March 30: 220 block of Grenadier Dr. – Petty theft ($950 and under).
BICYCLE STOLEN – 1
March 1: 1900 block Cumbre Drive – 5:15 p.m.
PETTY THEFT 1
January 22: 2800 block of S. Anchovy Ave. – 2:00 a.m.
The number of burglaries are down but crimes affecting vehicles are on the increase. Included are thefts from vehicles — some locked, some not. Also growing in popularity: stolen catalytic converters…worth hundreds for the precious metals they contain. We’ll say it again: if you have to leave your car on the street or in your driveway at night, lock it. And, be absolutely sure there is nothing in your car. Not, even a paper bag. These have been known to tempt car burglars who roam our streets every night.
We just learned of another case involving a trespasser-squatter attempt in upper South Shores.
Many of you may remember the 2019 saga of the trespasser in the vacant home on the corner of 22nd St. and Moray. It took 3 months to remove that trespasser in one of the most complicated efforts in CyberWatch history.
The following case occurred just last week on Cumbre Drive: A few days ago, we received notice of 2 burglaries at the same home in the same week. One on March 10, the other on March 12. Thinking this might be a posting error, we asked Senior Lead Officer Paul Winter to get more details. Despite being on medical leave and his assistant on vacation, Officer Winter did some digging and came through for us. Here’s what we learned from him:
March 9 and 10 – Between 9:30 pm and 4:00 am
The home, on Cumbre Drive, is owned by an elderly person. For medical reasons, his family recently moved him into a rest home. The family member hired a rental management company who began advertising the property for rent. Soon after, the family member visited the property and discovered that someone had forced entry into the garage and stole video games, a bicycle, and tools. A police report was taken on March 11, 2021. No suspect was seen.
March 12 – Between 8:00 am and 3:00 pm
The property manager arrived at the location and discovered 3 suspects there…2 males and 1 female of unknown age. The suspects told the property manager they had permission to be there to do laundry and take showers. When asked more questions, the suspects ran to a black Chevy Impala and fled. The suspects had taken blankets and books belonging to the victim. The property manager was able to get the license plate number from the fleeing vehicle. This is now part of an ongoing LAPD investigation. The manager also discovered the lock box for the front door was missing and the property had been re-keyed. The suspects had been in and out of the home. One of the suspects has been identified and, hopefully, the rest will be identified and apprehended soon.
So, here’s the lesson for us here: If you observe a vacant home in your vicinity, please keep an eye on it and ask your neighbors to do so, as well. If you know the owner of the property or the agent
representing the owner, ask them if they’ve posted a Trespass Arrest Authorization at the property. This one-page form is available from the Harbor LAPD. It’s usually placed on a window from the inside of the home. Without that posting, the police are powerless to arrest trespassers on the property. We learned this firsthand from the 2019 trespassing case on 22nd St. The deceased owner’s sister was the agent for the property and she refused to sign this
Here’s what ensued at the 22nd St property in February 2019:
The trespasser re-keyed the home. He then moved in furniture from his Compton home, and put the utility and cable billings in his name. For months, he enjoyed an ocean view home rent-free with his elderly mother and 9 year old daughter. He then enrolled his daughter in the South Shores Elementary School to further solidify his residency status.
When I asked the trespasser why he was doing all this, he replied, “I know my rights, the police can’t touch me. When somebody eventually buys this home from the mortgage holders, the new owner will have to negotiate a price with me to move out. That’ll be less expensive for the buyer than paying an attorney to take me to court and evict me. The courts don’t like evicting young minors or elderly folks over age 65. And, my cousin’s an attorney, so that could take a while.” The colorful details involving the removal of this trespasser are too many to recount here, but the effort did consume hundreds of man hours.
Lesson learned. This nightmare could have been avoided by posting a Trespass Arrest Authorization at the vacant home. A neighbor had observed the suspect moving in. A phone call to the police would have ended it right there.
The Good News
Fortunately, last week’s incident on Cumbre Drive was nipped in the bud. For that, we
can thank fortunate timing and some good luck. It could have easily become a sad and
costly tale for both owner and neighbors.
Observe. Report. And, stay well!