Los Angeles: Patrol officers found a stolen Mercedes Benz SL5 in the Arleta area yesterday, July 30, about three hours after it had been taken from a valet service at a Venice restaurant on Abbot Kinney Drive. The suspected car thief was arrested after he tried to evade officers and entered a house, donned the resident’s clothes, and tried to feign involvement.
Officers booked Dylan Coffey, 20, for burglary for entering the house in the 13500 block of Reedly Street.
“Now we’ll piece together Coffey’s involvement in the taking of the car,” said Lt. Paul Vernon, commanding officer of the Mission Detective Division. “Between video at the VFW hall where he left the car, video at the restaurant, and the bicycle left behind in Venice, it will be hard for him to deny his connection to the stolen car.”
The car was taken during the lunch hour by a man who entered it without permission when a valet left it running for the owner. It was reported stolen immediately and the OnStar system was activated. Patrol officers from the Van Nuys Area picked up the ping around 3 PM and tracked the car to Arleta, near the VFW hall at Crowley and Astoria Streets.
Officers watched the empty car for a while, then saw Coffey approach it. “Something spooked him and he went into the VFW hall where detectives entered,” Lt. Vernon explained. Coffey left the hall then jumped a fence into a residential area to avoid the police. He entered a home and dressed in the owner’s clothes, then hid under a woodpile.
Police arrested Coffey and recovered the Mercedes. “The owner was happy to hear her car was found, none the worse for wear, and we promised her we wouldn’t dirty the interior with print dust,” Vernon added.
Anyone with information is urged to call Detective Tim Kohl, Mission Burglary Unit, at (818) 838-9977. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7. Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477). Tipsters may also contact Crime Stoppers by texting to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone. All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.” Tipsters may also go to LAPDOnline.org, click on "web tips" and follow the prompts.