By Mary O’KEEFE
Glendale police detectives are investigating a burglary that occurred on Saturday morning in the 3500 block of Santa Carlotta Avenue.
“My work truck was parked outside my house overnight on Saturday and about 3:30 in the morning two guys broke in and stole about $10,000 worth of tools,” said Will Richards.
The suspects apparently used a screwdriver-like tool and broke the locks on six side bins on the vehicle. Surveillance video show there were two suspects at the truck.
Richards works for an electrical company. The equipment/tools stolen from the truck belonged to him, not the company.
“I am limited in what I can do at work now,” Richards said. He has gone out and purchased a few tools but it will take a while to replace what he has lost; in the meantime he is assisting another electrician.
At first the detectives thought the burglary was committed by someone who knew the Richards family; however, that does not seem to be the case.
“The police are still investigating,” Richards said.
The surveillance video, and photos, were very clear. Richards put it on Facebook to see if anyone recognized one of the suspects.
“I got a lot of responses,” he said. “It has been shared [over] 200 times.”
People he knows and those he has never met have contacted him with information on the burglary. Richards has turned over the information to the police.
A similar burglary occurred in the 3700 block of Fairesta Street. On Saturday afternoon the owner of a truck noticed the locks on several compartments had been pried open. About $4,100 worth of tools were stolen.
The Richards burglary is just one in an increase in burglaries and thefts, according to Officer Abe Chung.
“North of Foothill [Boulevard] is mainly residential [burglaries] and in the Sparr Heights/Verdugo City area we have seen a sharp increase in vehicle burglaries and thefts from unlocked vehicles,” Chung said.
In addition to vehicle burglaries there is mail theft throughout Glendale and La Crescenta.
On Tuesday night, Glendale police arrested two suspects for possible mail theft. They were allegedly found with sticky rat traps that are commonly used to fish out mail from post office boxes.
On a recent ride-along with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Dept., a deputy noticed an open mailbox with what appeared to be an Internal Revenue Service tax return check lying in plain sight. The deputy called it to the attention of the resident.
There have been several reports in La Cañada Flintridge and La Crescenta of mail stolen from mailboxes and packages from front steps of homes.
It is not known how the mail thefts occur, whether the perpetrators drive through the neighborhoods or walk.
Sgt. Hector Mancinas, Los Angeles Sheriff’s Dept./Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station, reminds residents to call immediately if they see anything or anyone suspicious.
He also advised residents not to leave mail in the mailbox, either outgoing or mail that has been delivered.
“Keep valuables inside your home and out of plain view, and not in vehicles. [Residents] should make sure they lock and secure their home and cars,” Chung said. “Call the police [to report] suspicious activity or crimes in progress.”
When calling law enforcement it is important to give as much information as possible including a description of the suspicious person/vehicle, and a reason why they are suspicious – for example, a male in his 20s, slim-build, checking door handles on parked vehicles.
It is also important to remember that crimes are not limited to suspects entering a home or vehicle; sometimes all it takes is a phone call.
Scams are on the increase where callers pretend to be IRS agents and threaten the resident with jail or fines due to fees owed, or the caller pretends to be from the local water department demanding payment.
“Glendale Water & Power impersonators may use ‘spoofing software’ that lets them falsely display the name and phone number of GWP on your Caller ID. The impersonator calls asking you to pay your bill over the phone immediately or go and purchase a prepaid card and call back the impersonator or else your water or power service will be shut off,” according to GWP.
This type of scam also occurs with those impersonating Crescenta Valley Water District staff as well. Sometimes the suspects come to the residence pretending to be a representative of the utility company.
Neither GWP nor CVWD asks for payment information over the phone or in person at the resident’s home or business.
If anyone has suspicions about any calls or visits, it is important to double check with the company directly. It is advised to be suspicious of anyone asking for money to be sent to them immediately using Green Dot or some other type of prepaid money service.
To report suspicious activity, call the CV Sheriff’s Station at (818) 248-2740 or GPD at (818) 548-4840.