South Burbank saw a rash of vehicle and business burglaries this past week, prompting police to issue a crime alert warning residents to secure their belongings.
Most of the burglaries took place in the 4400 block of Sarah Street and the 3400 block of West Magnolia Boulevard.
Five auto burglaries involving the theft of personal items ranging from global satellite positioning systems to iPods and sunglasses occurred between Nov. 6 and 7 on Sarah Street, according to Burbank police.
And businesses in the 3400 block of West Magnolia Boulevard and residents on the adjacent block of North Lima Street say they are growing concerned with the increase in commercial burglaries in the area.
On Nov. 1, two or three men entered the antique store Best of Times and stole jewelry.
A neighbor alerted police about the burglary while it was in progress after hearing the back door of the shop beaten in, business owner Marie Laree said.
“No one on the street can believe this,” Laree said. “It happened when people were home at 8:45 p.m.”
Laree, who has owned Best of Times on West Magnolia Boulevard for the past 16 years, said she’s still in shock.
The suspects were wearing dark clothing and ski masks, according to the police report.
The men backed an SUV to the back door of the shop to block the view of on-lookers before entering Best of Times. When Laree entered her shop, the thieves had thrown merchandise all over the store.
Jeff Hartung, a builder who has repaired some of the damage to the affected businesses recently, is working to help organize a neighborhood watch to prevent future incidents.
“The police don’t put this stuff out for the residents to keep a watch for,” Hartung said. “We’ve contacted several people to keep an eye out in the area.”
With a large number of neighbors who exercise and walk their pets in the neighborhood, Hartung said he hopes it will be easier to prevent the burglaries.
Burbank has 18 Neighborhood Watches, said police Det. Anthony Faggiano, who is in charge of working with residents to organize the community groups.
Residents must first register with National Neighborhood Watch before working with Faggiano, he added.
“Neighborhood Watches can get information about certain crimes from the Police Department,” Faggiano said. “It’s more about the block wanting to do it and organizing themselves.”
There are no registered Neighborhood Watch groups near the 4400 block of Sarah Street or 3400 West Magnolia and North Lima Street.
In addition to the burglaries, the Bank of America and V & K Distributing Co., a grocery store, were also hit by robbers in the past three months.
And on Aug. 23, a 44-year-old woman fought off a female attacker who had a large wooden stick. The female suspect reportedly ran down Magnolia Boulevard. She was described as Latino, in her 20s, 5 feet tall, heavyset and wearing a black-and-white shirt.
There are two other possible suspects, both men wearing dark clothing.