@THE GUSS REPORT-The LAPD punted last week when it received a complaint about burglars caught on video breaking into a Sherman Oaks condominium’s mailboxes, refusing to even take a report, explaining that mail theft is a federal crime and should be handled by the U.S. Postal Service. But in doing so, the LAPD ignored the burglary committed to get to the mailboxes and likely identity theft or financial crimes done with the haul that is supposed to be handled at the local level. That enabled three more break-ins, for a total of four, by the same crew at the same location in less than a week.
The burglaries took place on May 3, 5, 6 and 8 at the upscale condo located across from the Van Nuys-Sherman Oaks Memorial Park.
Detective Meghan Aguilar of the LAPD’s Media Relations division said that while only one such complaint was made to the station, she understood that their lack of response to it dissuaded the victims from reporting the subsequent break-ins by the same crew.
The May 3 burglary took place at 2:33am, with a Dodger-cap wearing ringleader and a taller male accomplice.
On May 5 at 3:46 a.m. the ringleader returned alone with his face exposed but not captured on camera.
Then on May 6 at 5:13 a.m. he returned with a waifish female accomplice. (See photo top of page.)
And on May 8h at 9:48 p.m., he returned by himself again, without a bag for the loot, but this time with his face exposed as he first read the building directory, after which he opened only two of the four mailbox panels and took only targeted contents.
“This is neither our policy, nor the way the LAPD is supposed to fight crime,” Aguilar said of their poor response, assuring that a detective would be in touch with the condo “in a day or two.” But nearly a week since that promise was made, the LAPD has failed to contact the property management company or condo board of directors.
“If the LAPD ever does show up to take a report,” an unnamed condo resident said, “we also have bare-faced photos of other prowlers checking for open car doors in our garage.”
There is an unconfirmed report that U.S. postal inspectors may have nabbed the crew’s ringleader but they did not return a request for an interview in time for this article. Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office could not be reached for comment.
(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 [email protected]. His opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of CityWatch.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.