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News Release

Monday, February 6, 2017

Media Relations

Tradesmen’s Vans Targeted for Tools NR17039pv

Canoga Park: Los Angeles detectives are warning tradesmen, handymen, and trade associations about criminals who have targeted WHITE vans, stealing the vans for the purpose of taking the tools inside. Since November 1, 2016, detectives have noted 27 vans, used by tradesmen in the West San Fernando Valley, have been taken.

"We aren't sure if it's the same suspect, or just a new MO shared across the crime populous," explained Lt. Paul Weber, commanding officer of the Topanga Detective Division. "The vans are usually taken overnight, parked on the street, and they are found a short time later (1 to 3 days) and usually a short distance from the crime location. That tells us the real target is the tools inside."

Detectives explain that power tools are easily resold to pawnshops, at swap meets or on online applications like Craigslist or Offerup.

"It seems there's a certain type of van that's common among handymen, and the crooks know it," Lt. Weber added. Between November last year, and February 1, 2017, 20 Ford Econoline, 5 Chevy Express, and 2 GMC Savanna vans have been stolen with tools later removed. All the vans were WHITE.

Detectives recommend the following safety tips to reduce the risk of having these vans and tools stolen:
  • Lock your van
  • Equip van with an alarm
  • Place power tools inside a locked, security container inside the vehicle
  • Install a steering-wheel lock mechanism to discourage the theft of the van
  • Etch ALL power tools and other tools with owner's CA driver's license or ID number
  • Park vans inside secured structures or yards
Anyone with information in this case is urged to call Det. Brien Pogue, Topanga Detective Division, at (818) 756-3537. Anonymous tips can be called into Crimestoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477), or by texting 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone. All text messages should begin with the letters "LAPD." Online tips may be placed at www.LAPDOnline.org, click on "webtips" and follow the prompts.

Lt. Weber is available for interviews on this release. He can be reached at (818) 756-4820.

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