MIRACLE MILE (CBSLA) — A spike in car burglaries led Los Angeles police to a troubling discovery — gang members from Northern California were connected with recent Southern California break-ins.
In video of a high-speed chase, drivers of a dark vehicle could be seen swerving through traffic and hitting other vehicles to evade police. Officers with the Los Angeles Police Department said the men were members of a burglary crew from Oakland.
And while those men were arrested and charged, police said other burglary crews from the Bay Area were lining up to take their place.
“All the reasons that make this area appealing to tourists, make it appealing to suspects as well,” Det. Brent Hopkins, of the LAPD, said. “It’s a target-rich environment.”
The thieves were said to be targeting rental cars, looking for vehicles with out-of-state plates and rental bar codes in the window, signaling their might be luggage inside.
“That’s so stressful,” one woman said. “There are so many things to worry about, and then obviously to pay for the damages they do breaking into the car.”
Detectives with the Wilshire Station said the word was out and crews have been flocking to the streets and parking lots around The Grove, Farmers Market and Museum Row.
“These are happening in broad daylight, middle of busy intersections, sometimes pedestrians walking right down the street in front of them,” Hopkins said.
Security video released by the LAPD showed just how quickly a burglary could happen. Police said a crew from the Bay Area pulls up next to a car where one of the suspects gets out, breaks a window and grabs items before the crew takes off just minutes later.
Police are now warning tourists to be more aware of their surroundings, make sure that they don’t leave anything important or valuable inside their vehicles and lock the doors.
LAPD said they were working with Beverly Hills and West Hollywood police who have also seen a spike in car burglaries.