Fake workers scope out Ladera Heights neighborhood before rash of burglaries

Tuesday, November 28, 2023
Homeowners in Ladera Heights dealing with series of burglaries
Security cameras show men knocking on doors and attempting one of two things according to neighbors: to learn if the house is empty - or to get invited in.

LADERA HEIGHTS, Calif. (KABC) -- Homeowners in Ladera Heights are dealing with a handful of unwanted guests this holiday season.

Security cameras show men, some appearing to be professionals on the clock, knocking on doors and attempting one of two things, according to neighbors: to learn if the house is empty so they could break in - or to get invited in.

"They first started out as selling solar panels and then probably a month after that it was the water systems of some kind," said one Ladera Heights homeowner.

That would allow them to scope out the house and return later.

"My home too was broken into so I know firsthand," said the homeowner.

Her break-in is one of several now under investigation by the LA County Sheriff's Department.

"We've had one on the street we're on. We've had back-to-back the same house in upper Ladera. And then two more that I know of," said Desobry Bowens, president of the Ladera Heights Civic Association.

The burglars in this case ran off with expensive jewelry, though their sentimental value is even higher: The homeowner said her mother gave them to her before she died.

Burglaries in the area have increased in recent years since a low during the pandemic, according to LASD statistics, although the numbers are still lower than they were pre-pandemic.

Desobry Bowens leads the neighborhood association and feels crime has spiked on a more local level.

"We don't have a city that's buffering us. We have the LA County Sheriff's Department who's at least 1,000 people undermanned and our sheriffs work out of the Marina station and they cover all the way from Marina Del Rey all the way to almost Crenshaw," said Bowens.

Residents of the neighborhood are on alert, fearing the break-ins could get worse.

"It's just a matter of time that either they're going to get hurt or they're going to go into someone's home and either startle that person or that person gets hurt," said one homeowner.

No arrests have been made but the Sheriff's Department is continuing to investigate.