Los Angeles News

Help needed capturing 'knock-knock' burglars

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Police need the public's help capturing a trio of so-called "knock-knock" burglars on the loose in the Encino area.

The all-female crew was caught on surveillance video trying to hit one home. Police said the same women are suspected of burglarizing another home earlier in the day and may be responsible for two other burglaries in the same area this month.

Authorities said the ploy the burglars use is very popular. The suspects look for a home that appears unoccupied, approach the door and knock. If someone answers, they say they are lost and need help, but if no one answers, they spring into action.

Surveillance video shows two of the three suspects at a home in Encino Hills.

"It appears that they were randomly just driving down the street, waiting for somebody to leave their house," said LAPD Det. William Dunn.

The suspects approached just minutes after the homeowner left the residence at about 10:30 a.m. When no one answered the front door, they headed to the backyard and smashed a glass patio door. Luckily, the home had an alarm system that scared the burglars off.

"One of the good things about Encino is not only do we have a strong neighborhood watch, but we have a lot of people who are conscious of the burglaries, and they do have home security systems and surveillance systems," Dunn said.

Police do not believe the women are looking for a confrontation. The suspects are described as three African American women in their 20s, and they may be driving a gray or light-colored sub-compact car.

The suspects appear to be targeting homes in the Encino Hills area, south of Ventura Boulevard.

"We all worry about our safety of our families," said Adam Zane, an Encino resident.

West Valley was hit by a different ring last year in which 40 homes were burglarized. Those suspects were caught, and according to LAPD statistics, burglaries are down 11 percent over the last two years in the West Valley division.

Detectives said if you see people knocking on doors in your neighborhood that you don't recognize, don't hesitate to call authorities.

"If it looks strange to you, it's going to look strange to us," Dunn said. "If we respond and it turns out to be just nothing, that's part of being police officers."

Anyone with information on the "knock-knock" burglars was urged to call the LAPD at (877) LAPD-24-7.

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burglary, caught on tape, los angeles news
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