@THE GUSS REPORT-Has paralysis on the part of the LAPD and LA City Councilmember David Ryu concerning a recent spate of San Fernando Valley mail theft burglaries led to a worsening of the situation?
On Friday, KNBC reported on yet another videotaped residential burglary in Sherman Oaks where the goal was mail theft of identities, financial information, credit cards and cash. While the mail theft and possession of USPS mailbox master keys are federal crimes, burglaries and identity theft are the purview of local law enforcement.
The KNBC video, as reported by Patrick Healy, shows the bare-faced burglars in action in the light of day.
A few weeks earlier, I reported here in CityWatch a nearly identical crime wave in Sherman Oaks, about which the LAPD refuses to take reports and Ryu refuses to field live questions. While the perpetrators’ faces in these earlier burglaries were also exposed to security cameras, they relentlessly hit the same address four times in six days.
In response to those earlier crimes, LAPD Detective Meghan Aguilar stated that its Van Nuys detectives would be in touch with the residents “in a day or two.” But when asked why, weeks later, no such action has been taken, Captain Patricia Sandoval of the LAPD Media Relations Division wrote to advise, “After speaking with Detective Aguilar, who is not assigned to Van Nuys Division and has no information related to the incident you are referencing, I've forwarded your email to the Detective Commanding Officer at Van Nuys Division.” But two weeks later, the LAPD remains silent and passively on the sidelines despite Aguilar earlier proclaiming, “This is neither our policy, nor the way the LAPD is supposed to fight crime.”
Ryu remains silent, too, on direct and specific questions.
Consequently, in response to a California Public Records Act for all documents related to whether he has taken action on the matter, or determined why the LAPD refuses to take reports, an anonymous email address within his office stated, in part, on Ryu’s behalf, “My office has been working hand-in-hand with LAPD, community police advisory boards and local neighborhood watch groups to address the issue,” but he has yet to provide the documentation specific to these incidents which have – if a resident encounters the burglars – the potential to turn violent.
Ryu’s unknown staffer asked if the statement sufficed as a response to my documents request, and was told that it does not.
Other law enforcement agencies, such as the Irvine Police Department, seem to be ahead of the game on mail theft, having recently busted a crew which, according to the OC Register, had in its possession mail from Los Angeles, among other places.
(Daniel Guss, MBA, is a member of the Los Angeles Press Club, and has contributed to CityWatch, KFI AM-640, Huffington Post, Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Daily News, Los Angeles Magazine, Movieline Magazine, Emmy Magazine, Los Angeles Business Journal and elsewhere. Follow him on Twitter @TheGussReport. Verifiable tips and story ideas can be sent to him at TheGussReport@gmail.com. His opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of CityWatch.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.
Tags: Daniel Guss, @The Guss Report, David Ryu, LAPD, mail theft, California Public Records Act, San Fernando Valley