Over the past several weeks there have been reports of several robberies and resident burglaries in the neighborhood, which has prompted the organization of a virtual town hall meeting on Monday night to discuss the issue.
“There’s a lot going on in the neighborhoods,” explained LAPD Senior Lead Officer Joe Pelayo who spoke to us today after having been off for two weeks. “It’s crews, predominantly African Americans, based on camera footage we have seen, moving around the neighborhoods of Windsor Square and Larchmont looking for opportunities to commit residential burglaries. They may also be other crews committing the robberies; we can’t tell yet.”
Yesterday, LAPD shared more information on the suspects, who are known to walk a small white dog (about the size of a Chihuahua) in the neighborhood as a way of surveilling the houses they will burglarize, according to Pelayo in an email message to residents.
“The Olympic Area is deploying additional officers to the affected areas. The suspects have been dressed in gym attire, hoody sweatshirts and sweat pants and surgical mask / face covers. Please report any suspicious person and activity to 911 immediately,” wrote Pelayo.
Most of the residential burglaries are occurring between 10 a.m. and sunset, explained Pelayo.
“Everyone is doing everything correctly,” said Pelayo, noting that security camera footage has been very helpful. “The best deterrent is neighbors sharing information and a barking dog.”
500 N. Lucerne Blvd resident Darren Eminian told the Buzz he saw someone that matched that description exactly last week. Eminan said he is outside often, tending to his hibiscus garden, and recalled seeing this person walk in front of his house at least two times during the middle of the day and afternoon. Eminian said the person had on a white hoodie and was wearing what looked like light blue baggy sweat pants.
“He was very skinny and dark skinned, with a large surgical mask on. Seems to be a bit older, maybe in his 40s? Hard to say for sure since he was mostly covered up,” said Eminian. “He stood out because I have never seen him before and I am really good at remembering everyone that walks by on a regular basis.”
Emian said he also noticed a car driving up the street and it looked like the driver was taking video of all the houses on the west side of the street. He was driving northbound in a white Nissan older model, maybe a Maxima. Now that he’s aware of the recent crimes, Eminian said he would be sure to take down the license plate. Several weeks ago Eminian and two other neighbors stopped a car from being stolen when they noticed someone trying to get a locksmith to open the car so they could hot wire it.
“We knew the owner and we went over and told the locksmith and told him it wasn’t the owner,” Eminian told the Buzz. “I think everyone should get active and look out for the neighborhood. We can’t be scared and stay in our houses; we need to get out on the street and get involved.”
Larchmont Village residents also learned of a robbery Wednesday between 11 and 12 in the Wells Fargo parking lot. According to witnesses, a woman was held up by two men whose getaway car was parked in the alley behind the bank. They insisted she thrown down her purse and that she get on the ground, too, before they got away. Apparently, there was another incident at the Bank of America earlier this month.
“As business owners we want to do whatever we can to help make Larchmont and the surrounding neighbors safer,” said Todd Warner, Security Chairman for the Larchmont Business Association (LBA). Warner has had several incidents at his business, TailWaggers. “We have organized a virtual meeting on Monday evening at 7 p.m. with the LBA’s security contractor, SSA and officers from LAPD. We invite all interested residents, and business owners are welcome to attend.”
Thanks so much for organizing this meeting. Great attendance and a good way to share info and find out more about what’s going on in our neighborhoods.