Burglars stole thousands of dollars worth of riding gear from a popular Glendale motorcycle shop Saturday morning and then led police on a two-hour, high-speed chase before two of the three suspects were arrested in Hawthorne.
The suspects in custody were identified only as Hispanic males, and were scheduled to be booked at Glendale City Jail. A third suspect remains at large. No injuries were reported.
The incident began at about 6:15 a.m. when a neighbor called police after hearing glass break at Pro Italia, a high-end motorcycle shop in the 3300 block of North Verdugo Road, Glendale Police Sgt. Dan Suttles said. Glendale police arrived just moments after the suspects fled in what witnesses described as a white van.
Shortly thereafter, police spotted a vehicle matching the description.
“They found the van going southbound on the 2 Freeway,” Suttles said. “They pulled in behind it, ran the plates and it was stolen. The pursuit was on.”
For about two hours, Glendale police and the California Highway Patrol pursued the suspects all over Los Angeles County. The chase went as far east as the 15 and 60 freeways before turning west again. At some moments the suspects were traveling at 90 miles per hour, said Suttles, adding that traffic was light.
The pursuit came to a conclusion at about 8:20 a.m. at the 105 Freeway and Prairie Avenue in Hawthorne, Suttles said. Two of the suspects were immediately taken into custody, while the third fled.
At Pro Italia midmorning Saturday, customers browsed the merchandise while workers replaced a broken glass pane at the front of the store on Verdugo Road. Apparel manager Karen Rickman said the burglars made off with about 50 textile and leather riding jackets. Textile jackets sell for between $200 and $400 a piece, she said. The more luxurious leather jackets can run as high as $900 each.
Rickman said that she wasn’t aware that the shop, which will celebrate its 25th anniversary in October, had ever been burglarized in the past.
A colleague was on scene almost immediately, she said.
“One of the staff lives close by so she heard the alarm and came to turn it off because it goes off every once in a while,” Rickman said. “She turned around and the police were right there.”
The stolen merchandise will be returned to the shop after police conclude their investigation, Glendale Police Sgt. Tom Lorenz said.
“This particular dealership is one of the largest Ducati dealerships in the western United States,” Lorenz said, referring to the high-end Italian motorcycle brand. “People come from all over the sate of California to buy their bikes [at the shop].”
Glendale police have chased and apprehended 15 burglary suspects in the last three weeks alone, Lorenz said.
-- Megan O'Neil, Times Community News