Alleged Glendale Galleria thieves tied to burglary ring

Three men allegedly connected to a group of organized burglars were arrested Sunday after they ransacked an AT&T kiosk inside the Glendale Galleria, police said.

Police stopped Tairez Smith, 22, Willard Hill, 25, and a 16-year-old boy, whose name wasn’t released because he is a minor, in a red Buick at Columbus Avenue and Hawthorne Street after they allegedly stole 24 cellphones and five iPhone cases from the mall kiosk, according to Glendale police.

The trio entered through one of the mall’s major department stores just after 8:30 a.m. and headed to the main shopping area, which wasn’t open yet, Glendale Police Sgt. Tom Lorenz said.

They allegedly ransacked the first-floor AT&T kiosk and left the mall with the loot when a security guard spotted them as they got into the Buick, according to police reports.

Officers caught up with the men a short time later.

Along with the iPhone cases and cell phones, police reported finding a thumb drive, a memory card package, two iPhone chargers, a crowbar and bolt cutters inside the Buick.

The arrests were the latest in a weeks-long spate of burglaries that authorities have tied to a gang-backed crime ring.

The trio reportedly told police detectives that Glendale was a target-rich environment that was easily accessible by freeway, Lorenz said.

They claimed that “Glendale has got a lot of stuff for us,” Lorenz added.

The group of thieves, who authorities say hail from South Los Angeles gangs, has been burglarizing homes in affluent neighborhoods in Glendale and the San Fernando Valley.

The thieves typically steal small items of high and quick resale value, police said. Most of the residential burglaries occur during the day when homeowners are at work.

Glendale police have arrested seven burglars in connection with the criminal group.

Copyright © 2019, Glendale News-Press
EDITION: California | U.S. & World