Uptick in Palos Verdes Burglaries Ahead of Holidays

A rash of burglaries in Palos Verdes has residents concerned, and police officers stepping up patrols for suspicious activity, police said Wednesday.

In the last two weeks before Christmas, 14 burglaries were reported to Palos Verdes Estates police.

"It's typical for us if we have 35 burglaries a year," Police Chief Jeff Kepley said. "Since November, we had 35."

"I'm now considering this an alarming rate equivalent to an epidemic," he said.

In one burglary caught on surveillance footage, four people wearing hoods went into a home and ransacked multiple bedrooms. Jewelry, cash and a safe were taken from the property.

The suspected burglars appeared to be three men and a woman.

Police were able to collect evidence, and were running their fingerprints and DNA.

In nearly every burglary reported, a burglar smashed a back window at the targeted home, and then ransacked bedrooms.

The burglaries also occurred on weekdays between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m., police said.

While police have taken multiple suspects into custody in connection with the rash of burglaries, they said new thieves keep targeting homes.

"I was shocked," MaryAnn Evans, burglary victim, said. "We always felt safe."

Evans said that the thieves got away with thousands of dollars of jewelry and cash. She and her daughter were installing surveillance cameras after the burglary.

"We have dedicated burglary units out there day and night, both in uniform and plainclothes, and we certainly are increasing patrols during the holiday season," Kepley said.

Police encouraged anyone with information on the burglaries or anyone who sees suspicious activity to call 310-378-4211. 

Jane Yamamoto contributed to this report.

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