At 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, two men surprised a 16-year-old girl when they forced their way into her Lowell Avenue home off the Foothill (210) Freeway, tied her up and stole jewelry, cash and other personal items.
The Glendale Police Department is asking for the public's help in the home invasion robbery, which took place in the 4300 block of Lowell. According to Sgt. Tom Lorenz, the girl was home alone when the two men knocked at the door.
“She didn't recognize the men so she didn't answer the door, which is good,” Lorenz said.
After hearing no response to their knocks, one of the men kicked in the door; they both entered the home. Lorenz said it appeared they did not expect anyone to be inside.
“The girl was out of class that morning and both parents work,” Lorenz said.
When the suspects encountered the teen they tied her up in one of the bedrooms.
“They told the girl they had a weapon, but one was never brandished,” Lorenz said. “They were very specific about what they wanted. They asked where the jewelry and cash was and if there were any weapons in the home.”
According to Lorenz, the suspects filled a pillowcase with the stolen items, told the girl not to try to escape or call anyone for 10 minutes, and left the home.
After the suspects left, the girl was able to loosen her restraints.
“She fled the location and went to her mom's work [a local office],” Lorenz said.
The mother called the Glendale police and no one was allowed back into the house before officers were able make certain it was safe. Lorenz added that the girl did the right thing by leaving and calling from a remote location.
“We don't want anyone to go back into the location without us securing it,” he said.
He added that the young girl was scared and intimidated by the suspects.
“But she appears to be a very strong girl,” he added.
A Glendale officer canvassed the neighborhood in an attempt to find anyone who may have witnessed the two men arriving or departing the home.
Neighbor Robert Khudaverdyan said that he had not seen anything and was surprised that this type of crime would happen in his neighborhood.
“My wife keeps telling me to lock the doors but I say, 'This is La Crescenta,'” he said. “When my wife hears about this, we will be locking all doors from now on.”
The men are described as African-American, both in their 20s. One was 6' 2” to 6' 4”, thin build. He was wearing a dark hoodie and dark shorts. The other man was 5'11” to 6', of a heavier build, and dressed like his companion.
Although most burglaries in La Crescenta involve suspects entering through windows and back doors, Sgt. Ray Harley of the Crescenta Valley Sheriff's Station said it is important for residents to take heed of this robbery and stay alert.
“It is common for [suspects] to knock on the resident's front door to determine if they are home,” he said.
Harley recounted an arrest that happened last year when two men who were suspected of burglary were arrested after they were stopped on Gould Avenue. A La Cañada resident had reported that two men were “banging” on his front door and before he could get to the door, the men moved to his backyard. For some reason the men left the yard and the resident called the sheriff's station. A description of the men and their vehicle were released and shortly thereafter the men were apprehended.
“It's important to call us,” Harley said.
No witnesses have yet come forward in the Lowell robbery, but Lorenz is hopeful someone saw something.
“This is a pretty busy street and these guys would be pretty obvious walking down the sidewalk,” Lorenz said. “And it may not have been just at 9:30 a.m. [Witnesses] could have seen something earlier this morning, last night or last week.”
Lorenz said this robbery is similar to a burglary that happened in the downtown Glendale area on Friday. He said that police feel it may be linked to a group of men who are hitting the Los Angeles County area, near freeways. Lowell Avenue is an offramp from the Foothill (210) Freeway.
“This type of access is usually what they look for,” Lorenz said. “A large, nice home with easy access to the freeway.”
Lorenz and Harley advise residents to call law enforcement if someone comes to their door who they do not recognize.
“We would rather have you call than not,” Lorenz said.
He added that the station has not received many calls concerning this robbery as of press time but is hopeful that someone saw something. Lowell Avenue is a busy street that many motorists use to gain access to the Foothill (210) Freeway.
“I know we are going to get a call,” he said.
“If you do answer the door and they have no apparent reason for being there or have a strange excuse, call us,” Harley said.
“A lot of times they are just checking to see if someone is home.”
The teen and her family are dealing with the fear and shock of this incident.
“The dad [of the teen] made a comment that you feel safe in your home and never expect your home to violated,” Lorenz said.
Anyone who saw suspicious activity Tuesday is asked to call Glendale police at (818) 548-3987 or (818) 507-7867. To advise the CV Station of strangers in residential neighborhoods, call (818) 248-3464.