CHATSWORTH (CBSLA.com) — A Los Angeles Police Department task force investigating a series of knock-knock-style burglaries in the San Fernando Valley say they have made three arrests Tuesday, just five days after the task force was announced.
Daquinn Davon Epps, 27, and Daejohn Cleonn Clark, 26, were arrested Feb. 13 after a Chatsworth resident called police to report someone breaking into a home.
Epps and Clark were both arrested the same day. Clark was released on Feb. 22, while Epps was released on Feb. 28. Their next court dates were not available.
John Stuart White, 25, was arrested on Feb. 22 and is being held on $515,000 bail. According to Los Angeles County sheriff’s jail records, he was arrested while already in custody in Castaic. He is scheduled to make his next court appearance Thursday.
Police say one of the men who was arrested told officers he would be out of jail in just a couple of days, would return to the same area to commit burglaries and that he would not spend more than six months in jail for this type of crime. LAPD officials did not specify which arrested made this statement.
LAPD investigators believe that of the 1,000 burglaries reported in the department’s West Valley Area last year, about 250 were organized by knock-knock burglars. The task force was announced in the wake of several burglaries involving celebrities and high-profile athletes, including Yasiel Puig, Nicki Minaj and Derek Fisher.
When the task force was announced last Friday, police did not say it was in response to the burglaries at celebrities’ homes, but those incidents did involve thefts of hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of jewelry.
“We need community members to call the police when they observe suspicious activity in their neighborhoods,” LAPD Capt. Rafael Ramirez said in a statement. “We have dedicated every available resource to identify, track and arrest this type of criminal behavior occurring in the San Fernando Valley.
While there have been a rash of burglaries in the west San Fernando Valley, police could not say whether they were the work of one crew, or even if the celebrity burglaries were connected. Police say the burglars are usually made up of gang members from South Los Angeles and typically target affluent single-family homes on the likelihood they have money, jewelry or firearms.
“It’s their perception that they’ll get a very short jail time because it’s a property crime,” LAPD Det. William Dunn said.
Typically, would-be burglars usually knock on the front door to determine if the home is empty before breaking in, and are usually in and out of the home within five minutes.