SHERMAN OAKS (CBSLA) – Investigators have released newly-obtained surveillance photos of a burglar with the moniker “Ghost,” responsible for dozens of commercial break-ins in the San Fernando Valley dating back to July.
Los Angeles police report that Ghost has broken into 43 businesses since mid-July.
The burglar struck early Wednesday morning, reports CBS2’s Greg Mills.
Prior to the break in Wednesday morning, he struck on Oct. 4 at Franklin Hardware, located in the 21900 block of Ventura Boulevard in Woodland Hills. The burglary forced nearly $1,000 in repairs. He tool $600 in cash. He also grabbed a pond pump he ended up dumping in the parking lot and a disposal he kept.
Store owner Mike Kurzeka told Mills his heart skipped a little bit when he watched the burglary play out on surveillance video.
“This is my family’s business,” he said, “We’ve had it 65 years. This is [like] someone breaking into my home.”
Like the nearby ice cream store and barber shop and restaurant that were also hit, Kurzeka would like to see “Ghost” caught — and soon.
“I’d like to punch his lights out if I could,” Kurzeka said.
All the break-ins have occurred at businesses along Ventura or Topanga Canyon boulevards, and as far north as Sherman Way.
Police say the suspect is cautious, hiding when he sees the headlights of passing cars, and sometimes remaining hidden for up to a half-hour before proceeding with a break-in.
Over several weeks, police have conducted stakeouts, used undercover officers, decoy cars and detained burglar parolees, all to no avail.
The suspect is believed to be an Asian man in his twenties.
“Until this week, we had no idea what the Ghost looked like, other than he was hooded and gloved,” LAPD Lt. Paul Weber said in a news release.
Anyone with information on the suspect’s identity should call LAPD at 818-756-5844, or Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS.