Police: Men stole purses to buy heroin

Two brothers were arrested Thursday on suspicion of stealing purses from cars at two gas stations in Glendale and La Crescenta, police said.

Masis Khachikian, 40, and Siamanto Khachikian, 27, reportedly sought out women who were driving alone and followed them to gas stations. The men waited for the women to get out of their cars and then plucked the purses, Glendale Police Sgt. Vahak Mardikian said.

Siamanto Khachikian was reportedly the driver during the incidents, which occurred Jan. 24 and Feb. 1, while his brother snatched the purses from the women's vehicles, Mardikian said.

At the attempted Jan. 24 robbery, a woman saw Masis Khachikian stealing her purse from her car at the 76 gas station at Foothill Boulevard and New York Avenue in La Crescenta and fought with him to get her purse back, Mardikian said.

She struck him with a squeegee, and he dropped the purse and ran away, Mardikian said.

“This has the propensity to turn into violence,” he said.

The brothers were committing the thefts to support their heroin addiction and were sleeping inside their car, Mardikian said.

They were arrested in January for the same crime, he said.

Masis Khachikian took a plea deal of five days in jail for a petty theft charge, while his brother decided to fight the charge in court, Mardikian said.

Mardikian advises women to lock their car doors while parked at gas stations, hide their purses inside their cars or take their purses with them when they leave their cars.

“Be extra cautious when [you] see people just kind of loitering around,” he said.

Mardikian believes there may be more victims who haven't reported that they had their purses stolen.

Anyone who knows more about the thefts or was a victim of a gas-station purse theft can call Det. Marc Mendoza or Mardikian at (818) 548-2097.

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