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News Release

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Media Relations

Little Tokyo Store Creeper Needs to be Caught NR10322SF

Los Angeles:  Los Angeles detectives are releasing video footage of a man they call the “Store Creeper” who enters businesses, looks for purses, cash and other valuables to steal then takes the items while store employees are distracted by other customers.

“Anyone who knows the man should be able to recognize him,” said Lt. Paul Vernon, who oversees investigations for downtown.  

On June 14, 2010, the Hispanic man in his twenties, seen in the video, enters the Little Tokyo Koban store in the 300 block of First Street.  He freely walks through the store, which was picked up on several high-quality video cameras.  Later, the store’s owner noticed her purse missing from a backroom.  She found the purse behind a door with $120 in cash missing.

“This is a common method of operation: stealing women’s purses from small businesses while the employee is distracted,” Lt. Vernon said.  “To a crook, a woman’s purse says, ‘money and take me.’  We remind business owners to lock up their purses and other valuables during business hours.”

Detectives believe crews of thieves regularly work Little Tokyo and the Fashion District, focusing on woman’s purses.  “A female sales clerk almost guarantees a purse somewhere in the store, and the purse almost guarantees easy cash,” Lt. Vernon added.

The suspect is about 5’10” tall, with a medium build, and a shaved head.  Suspects like this one will often work in pairs, with one suspect posing as a customer to distract the employees.

The public is encouraged to report information to Det. Mike Brausam, Central Division at 213-972-1228.  During non-business hours or on weekends, calls may be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7.  Anyone wishing to remain anonymous may call Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477).  Tipsters may also contact Crimestoppers by texting to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) using a cell phone.  All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.”  Tipsters can also go to, click on "webtips" and follow the prompts.