Crime Report: Burglars access homes via second-floor balconies

 

April 11

Burglary, residence: 800 block of Valley Crest Street. A man left his home at around 8 a.m. April 10 and returned at 10:29 p.m. April 11 to find his garage had been ransacked.

Deputies determined the point of entry to be an upstairs glass patio door, which had been smashed open. Several rooms in the house had been rifled through, and a wall safe containing various necklaces, watches, rings, pendants and precious stones was missing from the master bedroom closet. A plastic green box containing bars of silver was also taken from the closet.

Deputies noticed a hammer and screwdriver, taken from the homeowner’s garage, on the floor near the hole where the safe had been. A metal basket had been placed on top of a washing machine in a pantry closet area, and skid marks most likely made by a foot were observed on the bark of a tree just outside the upper patio area.

Deputies noted “similar burglaries with the same points of entry” were reported the day before.

Identity theft: 4800 block of La Cañada Boulevard. A woman reviewed her Chase Bank statement on April 8 and noticed a pending Western Union wire transfer made from her account. She called her bank and Western Union, which said they would investigate the incident.

April 12

Burglary, residence: 800 block of Greenridge Drive. A woman reported leaving her secured home at around 8:20 a.m. Her husband came home at around 8:45 p.m. and was in the house for about an hour when he walked upstairs to find several drawers of the second-floor bedroom opened and ransacked.

Other areas, including a bathroom, closet and his daughter’s bedroom, had also been disturbed. Several pieces of costume jewelry, five watches and a number of upscale brand purses were missing from the house.

The point of entry was determined to be a second-story balcony, whose wood and glass door had been smashed open. Deputies observed a pull-up bar piece of gym equipment that appeared to have been placed under the balcony. A light bulb on the balcony was shattered on the ground next to the gym equipment. The victims noticed a gate on the west side of the residence was open.

The female homeowner said that on April 1, her mother saw two men in their early 20s, of thick build and wearing black clothing, run from the backyard on the west side to the street. The mother decided to try following them in her car and, while circling the house, noticed a red-orange sedan slow down near the residence. When she approached it, the vehicle sped off quickly toward Angeles Crest Highway and out of view.

Petty theft, shoplifting: 600 block of Foothill Boulevard. A store employee told deputies that around 1 p.m, she noticed a male Latino in his 30s, about 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighing about 215 pounds with a duffel bag over his shoulder and carrying a navy blue backpack walk down an aisle where dental items are kept. He was accompanied by a Latina female in her 30s, about 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighing about 180 pounds, with curly, shoulder-length hair.

The man placed a bag of chips he’d been carrying into his duffel bag, then took four boxes of Crest whitening strips and placed them in the bag before exiting the store. When the employee confronted the man outside, he dropped the duffel bag and the pair ran eastbound on Foothill Boulevard.

Identity theft, tax fraud: 1800 block of Glenhaven Drive. A man reported receiving a letter on Jan. 18 last year from the IRS about changes that had been made to his 2014 tax return that required him to pay. When he called the agency, he was told that someone had used an online tax website on April 15, 2014, to complete a false tax return using his information.

When deputies asked why he took so long to report the incident, the victim stated he’d been involved in ongoing litigation over the matter and was only recently advised to file a police report. He said the only person with access to his personal information is the person who does his taxes.

April 17

Identity theft: 5700 block of Ocean View Boulevard. A man told deputies he received a letter in the mail on April 13 from Citibank informing him a new Prestige credit card, which he had not applied for, was attached inside. He called the bank and was told no charges had been made on the card.

A representative from Experian’s fraud unit told him the card was applied for using the victim’s name, Social Security number, address and telephone number.

Identity theft: 5400 block of La Forest Drive. A man reported being the victim of fraudulent tax returns from 2014 to 2016 and was a credit card identity theft victim earlier this year. He said he received a letter from the IRS in March 2015 indicating an unknown person may have attempted to file a tax return the year earlier using his information. An agency representative told the man his name was being “red flagged” for suspicious activity.

In March 2016, the victim got another, similar letter from the IRS about a potentially false 2015 tax return. He resolved the issue and completed his taxes, filing no report. The man told deputies his fraudulent documents had inserted a “K” for his middle name, although he legally has no middle name.

He also said on April 15, he received a letter from Sun Trust Bank, with which he does not do business, referring to a balance on his ATM debit card. He called a representative, who canceled the account. A second letter from Sun Trust had just come that day, with a newly applied for MasterCard inside that he never applied for. That account was also canceled, but later that day when the man reviewed his Chase Bank statement, he saw an Amazon credit card had been opened in his name.

sara.cardine@latimes.com

Twitter: @SaraCardine

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