Three Larchmont Village shops – Wittmore, Buck Mason, and Boba The Great – were broken into over the weekend. Fortunately, the damage seems to be limited to broken glass and the theft of iPads from Boba The Great.
Wittmore owner Paul Witt told the Buzz that someone tried to rob the store’s Larchmont location around 2:30 a.m. on Saturday. Thieves smashed the shop door but did not gain entry to the store. The incident could be related to an attempt to smash the door at Chevalier’s Books that same day. Fortunately, Chevalier’s glass door did not break, though it was shattered in a another incident last February.
Also, both CBS News and KTLA Channel 5 News reported today that a thief broke into the back door at Boba The Great early Sunday morning. A video included in the KTLA story shows the intruder rummaging around, then stealing the shop’s iPads. While the losses could have been greater, replacing stolen equipment and broken plate glass doors can still be very costly for businesses, especially small businesses.
“This is a really hard problem that everyone is experiencing across the city,” Larchmont Boulevard Association President John Winther told the Buzz this morning. “The LBA contracts with SSA to provide assistance to members during business owners. It’s a good start; they solve a lot of problems during the day.”
LBA Security Committee Chair Todd Warner, owner of Tailwaggers Pet Supply, told the Buzz he is actively exploring ways to increase to presence of SSA on Larchmont Blvd., especially at night and on the weekends. Currently, Warner is the only business paying an additional fee for 24-hour service.
“My goal is to get more merchants involved in the LBA so we can have SSA or some private security patrol on the street 24/7,” Warner said. A longtime business owner with two other locations, Warner said crime is definitely increasing. He said he only had one break-in in sixteen years, but in the last four years, since the pandemic, he’s had four.
“Larchmont is still a very safe neighborhood,” Heather Boylston, Executive Director of the Larchmont Village Business Improvement District (BID) told KTLA News this morning during an interview on the street. “We are a very tight knit community, we’ve installed lights to make the street brighter and increase that sense of community. Three years ago we had nearly 30 vacancies on the street; now we have dozens of new shops and eateries.”
This weekend Levain Bakery opened its first Los Angeles location with lines of eager customers wrapping around the block all weekend long. One resident told the Buzz Larchmont was the biggest opening ever for the brand, which has a dozen locations around the country.
Indeed, Larchmont is experiencing a moment with dozens of new businesses and more visitors on the street. But the recent break-ins are also a reminder that no neighborhood is immune to crime, and increasing rates of property crime are challenging police across the city.
LAPD Olympic Division is conducting a crime prevention town hall July 12. Everyone is invited to attend.