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Burglars Targeting Gold In Upscale Toluca Lake Neighborhood

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(credit: CBS) Serene Branson
Serene is an Emmy Award-winning journalist and the recipient of...
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TOLUCA LAKE (CBS) — Residents of an affluent Toluca Lake neighborhood were on alert Wednesday night following a rash of burglaries that police said targeted gold.

One victim, an actor used to playing a crook on TV, talked about what it was like to be a real-life victim.

“Pretty much all the contents of these drawers were on the ground,” Phil Idrissi said while showing us the aftermath the burglary at his home.

Idrissi — a big man — looks like somebody that you would not want to mess with, but even he was victimized.

“You never feel good knowing you’re that vulnerable,” Idrissi said.

The actor, who normally plays the tough guy on shows like “The Mentalist” and “The Young and the Restless” had taken his dog Lenny out for less than an hour. In that short window of time, burglars picked or bumped his lock.

“I looked at the most obvious things that I thought might be taken and in fact were. But [I] was actually stuck how quickly they must have come in and out,” he said.

All his gold jewelry and cufflinks were gone.

LAPD North Hollywood division even posted a burglary bulletin on their Facebook page, warning residents of the increase in burglaries.

In one case, a homeowner went to get a gun after the suspect knocked on the front door, jumped a fence, tried the back door and then jammed open a bedroom window.

The homeowner confronted the burglar there, telling him to “freeze”.

The man wanted to remain anonymous, but he told us that he was still shaken and that he was installing an alarm system next week.

Officers said that the brazen crooks were looking for easy loot.

“The officer that came to take the report said that there is a pretty sophisticated ring that just wants gold — nothing with a serial number, they don’t want any watches,” Idrissi said, who has replaced his lock and learned a lesson.

“It’s a good wake-up call and a good reminder really that just because lawns are well manicured and streets are clean doesn’t mean you’re free of crime,” he said.

Detectives said that if you are home and someone knocks on your door, the best thing to do is let the possible burglars know you are home by saying something, such as, “thanks, but we’re not interested.”

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