LAPD searching for 3-man burglary crew targeting San Fernando Valley businesses

Sid Garcia Image
Friday, October 13, 2023
Smash-and-grab crew hitting San Fernando Valley businesses
The three-man crew has hit a Baskin-Robbins, a Van Nuys smoke shop and a Mediterranean restaurant.

VAN NUYS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Los Angeles police are searching for a three-man crew believed responsible for several burglaries in the San Fernando Valley.

Earlier this week the team broke into a Baskin-Robbins and the adjoining Balboa Smoke Shop at a Van Nuys strip mall around 3 a.m.

Surveillance video shows one of the crew with a hand saw. After smashing the front door glass, he used the saw to cut through the locks.

The owner says the thieves tried to cut open the ATM inside the shop. They ended up stealing thousands of dollars in cash and merchandise.

"They stole the safe with, because I do my thing, I count everything at the end of the month so they stole a bunch of cash," said owner David Balyan. "Separated in the safe was a couple of Dupont lighters. They stole a lot of cigarettes. They stole a lot of things. I haven't counted it yet."

Around 4 a.m. Thursday, the LAPD says the same three-man crew hit Esso Mediterranean Bistro in Encino.

The thieves were driving a black Mercedes sedan. Police spotted them and briefly pursued them on the 101 Freeway, but they got away. They were later spotted in Sun Valley but also managed to get away from there.

While overall burglaries in the city have been trending down, in the San Fernando Valley it's a different story.. LAPD's West Valley Division reports in the last 12 months, burglaries are up 13%.