Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

Crime Report: Sycamore Square Car Break-ins and Hancock Park Squatter


Early in the morning on August 5, several neighbors on the 700 and 800 blocks of S. Sycamore Ave. got an unexpected wake-up call when they found police on their doorstep informing them that their cars had just been broken into.  

Eileen Washington, who lives on the 800 block, posted on that, “At approximately 3:30 this morning I was awaken by police officers at my door. They informed me that my car was broken into, as well as some other cars on Sycamore Avenue between Olympic and Wilshire Blvd.”

Washington confirmed to the Buzz later that the police caught the thief, who was apparently rummaging around in cars he found unlocked (there were no broken windows or other signs of forced entry on the cars).  Washington said some of the stolen items had been discarded in neighborhood trash cans, and others – such as iPhones and iPads – were found in a backpack.

Sarah Cohen, who lives in the 700 block of S. Sycamore, confirmed that her tenant’s car was among those broken into, and that it, too, had apparently been left unlocked.

Cohen said the incident was troubling, but not as troubling as two recent home-invasion robberies in the area, one of which resulted in an arrest (but no charges), and the other in which the suspect fled before police arrived.  Cohen said of the second incident, “This guy was there for there for awhile. He took valuables, car and house keys and drank a ton of [the victims’] booze. They woke up because their dog finally barked and they saw a flashlight under their door. By the time the police arrived he was gone.”

Meanwhile, the SSA Security service released information last week about another break-in, and possible squatter, in the Hancock Park area.  According to SSA’s report:

The owners of the home in the 100 block of N. McCadden are renovating the home and not living within. The…home owners went to the residence to check on the construction progress at approximately 4:30 in the afternoon on August 2, 2016. When they entered they heard noises and found the suspect hiding in an upstairs closet. When the homeowners discovered him upstairs, they attempted to detain him. The suspect broke free and jumped out the second story window, shattering his ankle when he landed on the ground. LAPD Wilshire officer responded and took the suspect into custody. He was arrested and booked at Wilshire Area station. According to the reports, some of the homeowner’s property was found in his possession. Although this is a burglary, it appears to be a “squatter-type” incident. This suspect found an unoccupied home and no one around. He entered with the intent of stealing property, and, it appears to live in the home.

The SSA alert goes on to warn:

Properties that are unoccupied are targeted by squatters.

1. If you have a home that is unoccupied, ensure the home is inspected regularly.

2. Ensure you have a private security patrol to inspect the location at all times of the day and night.

3. Let your neighbors know that the home is vacant and nobody has permission to be living there.  If they see someone in the home to call you.

To help prevent future car and home break-ins, please remember to lock your homes and cars and to remove all valuables from cars, or at least keep them out of sight.  (Or “Lock it, hide it, keep it,” as LAPD says.)

Also, please report any sort of theft or break-in to the LAPD as soon as possible, so the activity is on their radar and they can plan and mobilize appropriate patrols, response, prevention and enforcement efforts.  If they don’t hear about crimes, they can’t be as effective in preventing and solving them.

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Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN but has lived in LA since 1991 - with deep roots in both the Sycamore Square and West Adams Heights-Sugar Hill neighborhoods. She spent 10 years with the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, volunteers at Wilshire Crest Elementary School, and has been writing for the Buzz since 2015.

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