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Armed men rob upscale Encino home

March 27, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Men in ski masks with high-powered weapons tied up residents in a home-invasion robbery in an upscale Encino neighborhood. The robbers then stole all the valuables they could carry.The residents were not harmed, though they were badly frightened. The robbers are still at large. This happened at a home on the 16000 block of Woodvale Road in Encino.

Some residents say they have lived in the upscale community for upwards of 20 or 30 years and say they have never heard of violent crime in their neighborhood -- until now.

The home-invasion robbery happened in an exclusive Encino community. Authorities aren't revealing the identity of the residents who were robbed.

The house was once owned by "Golden Girls" TV star Rue McClanahan, who sold it in the mid-1990s. Authorities say that after 11 a.m. Friday, three men posing as gardeners came to the gate at the bottom of the home's driveway.

A woman in her 30s who was visiting the home opened the gate and the suspects entered and came to the door of the home armed with what appeared to be high-powered rifles.

"They pointed a gun at a female, one of the two victims that were inside the residence, and pointed a gun at them and demanded entry," said LAPD Lt. Steven Sambar. "Fearing for their safety, they allowed a total of three male Hispanics into the residence and the two occupants of the residence -- one in her late 30s, the other one a teenager -- [were] physically bound [by the suspects] and proceeded to search the residence, and about 20 minutes later they fled the residence, taking televisions and computers."

Detectives say the suspects left the scene without physically harming the victims. They say the robbers left in a black Nissan tight-end pickup with unknown dealer paper plates.

"The individuals that we're looking for are three male Hispanics wearing all-dark clothing, to include a dark ski mask," said Lt. Sambar. "There is a lot of the residents that do have video surveillance and I'm asking that they contact us so that we may view their video surveillance. And I'd be very confident to say that I would believe we would see that vehicle hopefully passing by the residence, so that we may use that in our investigation to apprehend these very terrible, brazen suspects."

Residents are alarmed.

"I'm scared and shocked," said area resident Julie Stein. "Honestly, I'm speechless."

Detectives say they believe the home-invasion robbery was a random act. They need your help catching the suspects. If you can help, they want you to call them at (877) LAPD-24-7 -- (877) 527-3247.


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