Los Angeles: During the months of August and early September 2002, a series of commercial burglaries with a specific method of entry was being tracked by detectives from both West Valley and Van Nuys Detective Sections. A Crime Alert notification was published and sent to all detective units throughout the San Fernando Valley. The suspect involved would remove a metal DWP sidewalk water meter plate cover and throw it through the front glass window or door of a business. Once the glass was smashed, the suspect would enter the closed business, take cash from the registers and other small items of value. Most of the crimes were occurring in Reseda, along Reseda Boulevard and Sherman Way. The window smash burglaries were occurring mostly between 3:00 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. There was no evidence or clues as to who was burglarizing these businesses.
On September 7, 2002, West Valley Special Enforcement Unit officers set up observation points in the area of Sherman Way and Reseda Boulevard. Using unmarked vehicles and working in plain clothes, they began to monitor pedestrian traffic. At approximately 5:30 a.m., the officers were also notified that "The Dish Factory" business had just been burglarized by a suspect who smashed the window with a DWP water meter plate and fled the scene with cash from the cash drawer. The officers also observed a possible suspect holding a small bag and loitering in the area near the business. The suspect was detained and the officers conducted a burglary investigation. The officers recovered evidence linking the suspect to The Dish Factory and Kabul Cuisine business burglaries. The owner of Kabul Cuisine told the officers that the glass door to his business was smashed with a DWP water meter cover.
The suspect was subsequently arrested and booked for burglary. The suspect has been identified as 42 year-old Roger Wayne Gilbert, a transient with an extensive arrest record. The case was presented to the Van Nuys District Attorney’s Office and multiple counts of Commercial Burglary were filed. The bail for Gilbert was set at $60,000.00. It is believed that Gilbert is responsible for as many as 25-30 burglaries in West Valley Area and 5-10 in the Van Nuys Area this year.
This press release was prepared by Public Information Officer Jason Lee, Media Relations Section, 213-485-3586.