Los Angeles: The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) would like to warn the public to be aware of a recent spike of vehicle thefts involving older model vans.
During the past four- week period, LAPD’s Wilshire Area has experienced an increase in older model vans being taken from various areas in the southern portion of Wilshire Division, specifically south of Pico Boulevard and north of the Santa Monica Freeway between Arlington Avenue and La Cienega Boulevard.
The common thread linking the stolen vans is that they all belonged to tradesmen (i.e., painters, plumbers, gardeners, and handymen) who had their tools locked in their vans. Thus far, one of the vans has been recovered elsewhere in the city with its contents missing. It is obvious that these specific vans are being targeted for their contents. It appears the Spanish- speaking community is being victimized, and it is unfortunate that people’s livelihoods are being ruined by these criminal acts.
People should consider:
• Parking in a secure and/or well lighted area.
• Ensuring that they lock and secure their vehicle, and make sure no “spare” keys are left in the vehicle.
• A good quality steering wheel/brake pedal locking device as a visible deterrent.
• An ignition kill switch that may temporarily disable the vehicle when not in use.
These are all simple, inexpensive steps that may be taken by people in order to help prevent not only thefts of “work” vans but any other type of vehicle.
Anyone who may have information or questions regarding this is asked to contact Detective Carmine S. Sass, Wilshire Area Autos Coordinator at (213) 473-0556. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (877-527-3247). 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 "webtips" and follow the prompts.