LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Los Angeles police are warning tradesmen and handymen about thieves stealing white vans for the tools inside.
Between Nov. 1 and Feb. 1, 27 white vans used by tradesmen were stolen in the West San Fernando Valley.
The stolen vehicles were 20 Ford Econolines, five Chevy Expresses and two GMC Savanas, according to the LAPD.
L.A. police Lt. Paul Weber said the thieves knew exactly what they were looking for.
“All 27 were white in color. All of them were what they call tradesmen’s van. So basically, they don’t have the side windows. And all of them have been full of tools. They take the van. They drive it a short distance. They clean it out,” he added.
The lieutenant said that indicates the real targets are the tools, which can easily be sold to pawn shops, at swap meets or online.
The stolen vans were parked on streets overnight and were usually found within three days, not far away from where they were taken.
Weber said investigators are not sure if it is the work of one criminal or a broader trend.
“I just got my van robbed on Christmas Eve – from tools to my invoices to my private stuff, batteries, machines, machinery that I had in there. Basically find out that my van is empty. It got me every upset,” said Gal Glycher, whose family owns All Over Lock & Key in Woodland Hills.
He said he had lost $15,000 worth of equipment.
Police offered the following tips:
- Lock then van
- Install an alarm
- Place power tools inside a locked, security container inside the vehicle
- Install a steering-wheel lock
- Etch all tools with the owner’s California driver’s license or ID number
- Park the vans inside secured structures
Anyone with information about these thefts can call Detective Brien Pogue at (818) 756-3537.