ENCINO (CBSLA.com) — Police are warning San Fernando Valley residents about at least one thief who has been caught on tape stealing garage door openers out of cars and using them to break into homes.
According to the Los Angeles Police Department, the suspect targets cars parked in driveways in the West Valley area.
In mid-January, surveillance video caught him breaking into an Encino home after he stole a garage door remote.
They believe he is also responsible for two additional residential burglaries between Jan. 15 and 19. Police said the thief, who flees the crime scenes in a silver Toyota Rav-4, has been seen between the 405 Freeway and White Oak Avenue.
He was described as a Hispanic man in his late 20s with dark hair. He is believed to be 5 feet 8 inches to 5 feet 10 inches tall.
“It scares me just to know that it’s so easy for someone to just smash your window and break into your house,” resident Kourosh Shirazi said.
The LAPD reports that with 22 remotes stolen so far in 2013, garage door remote thefts are on the rise in the valley.
This year is on track to see a 30 percent increase in thefts over last year, when 184 remotes were stolen, authorities said.
Police are not sure if the same suspect is responsible for all of the crimes.