Police are looking for the public's help in finding a crew of four burglars suspected of breaking into homes in West Los Angeles. The incidents are part of a 46 percent increase of so-called knock-knock burlgaries in the area between August and September. Patrick Healy reports from West LA for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Sept. 26, 2012.
At least two so-called knock-knock burglaries happened in West Los Angeles this week, marking a rising trend of home invasions in the upscale area, police said.
Police say the would-be burglars knock on the door and if no one answers, they assume – not always correctly – that no one is home. Then they look for an open window or other way in.
On Tuesday, a knock-knock burglary occurred on Manning Avenue in West LA, where two men entered a ground-floor apartment and made off with a flat screen TV.
Later that day, police suspect the same pair entered a single-family home in lower Cheviot Hills near Overland. A woman was home and the men ran off, police said.
Between July 29 and Aug. 25, there were 61 burglaries in West Los Angeles, according to LAPD. There were 89 burglaries in the area between Aug. 26 and Sept. 22. That’s a 46 percent increase.
The problem has become so rampant the LAPD created a knock-knock burglary task force, which has made some 70 arrests so far.
In surveillance footage captured at a Beverly Hills home, four men can be seen clamoring over a wall and into the yard. Police believe they are one of the crews targeting homes in the area.
A similar incident happened at a large home in Brentwood on Sunset Boulevard. One of the men in that incident was captured on surveillance camera wearing the same white shorts and t-shirt as that of a man in the Beverly Hills video.
When a man answered the door at the Brentwood home, one of the would-be burglars punched him, knocking him to the ground.
Neighbors in the upscale area say they’re concerned.
Resident John Alderson says he remembers a similar incident a few months ago.
“I think they came in the back door from what the owner told me,” Alderson said.
According to police, open windows are something the knock-knock burglars look for and often use, so keeping windows closed is a deterrent, though that's easier said than done for those who don't have air conditioning.