BOYLE HEIGHTS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) --Police are warning the public about a string of "hot prowl" burglaries in the Boyle Heights area in which the suspects enter occupied homes while the victims are sleeping.
The series of break-ins all occurred in the early morning, between 2:30 a.m. and 6 a.m. The suspect or suspects would enter the home through an unlocked door, search through the house and take property.
In one case, the suspect touched a sleeping victim's leg.
Los Angeles Police Department Capt. Al Labrada says there have been 11 similar burglaries around St Louis Street near Hollenbeck Park since November.
"We've had different descriptions on most occasions - we've had individuals with beanies, we've had individuals with baseball caps - but it does tend to be around the same area," Labrada said.
Among factors possibly contributing to the break-ins is an increase in homeless encampments in the area, as well as warmer weather which can tempt people to leave windows open.
Police are working with other agencies to increase lighting at the park, and they are advising the public to install cameras on their property. They are also urging people to keep their windows closed and locked.
There has also been an increase in car thefts in the area, and residents are reminded to also keep their car doors locked. The LAPD's Hollenbeck station is offering free steering wheel clubs for the public.
If you do come face-to-face with an intruder in the middle of the night, Labrada cautions: "Don't confront them, don't try to attack them, or chase the individuals. Just call us, report the information to 911, and stay on the phone with the operator until we can get someone there to assist you."