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Santa Monica Police Arrest Suspect in Rash of Store Burglaries

Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark

Harding Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP  law firm
Harding, Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

Pacific Park, Santa Monica Pier


By Jason Islas
Staff Writer

November 15, 2013 -- Police arrested Ronald Perkins, 55, Thursday as a suspect in a rash of burglaries in one of Santa Monica’s wealthiest shopping districts.
Six stores were targeted between November 6 and 11. The stores had their windows smashed and their cash registers broken open, said officials.

In the same timeframe, two similar burglaries occurred on Lincoln Boulevard and Main Street, according to authorities.

While the police have one suspect in custody, the investigation is ongoing.

“At this time (Perkins) has been arrested in connection with the burglaries,” SMPD Spokesperson Sergeant Jay Moroso told The Lookout Thursday. “That doesn't mean that he's the only one out there.”

Moroso said that all of the eight burglaries followed a similar pattern.

The burglar -- or burglars -- would smash through the store front windows, find the cash registers and empty them out before police could respond to the alarms.

The burglaries, Moroso said, all occurred between midnight and 5 a.m.

While the methods were the same, the types of businesses targeted ranged dramatically.

The burglar targeted Andrew’s Cheese Shop, Cheeky Chic, Citron Clothing, SemiPrecious Bead Salon and Palmetto, according to reports.

Leather goods worth an estimated $4,000 was taken from Cheeky Chic, the owner told a local neighborhood group.

And, according to merchants’ statements, anywhere from $100 to $200 were taken from the registers in other stores.

The rash of break-ins roused the concern of the North of Montana Association (NOMA), which represents the neighborhood, comprised mostly of pricey single-family homes, directly north of the shopping district.

“We at NOMA have learned that there has been a rash of break-ins on Montana Ave. over the past week, and we'd like to alert everyone to be aware and vigilant of what is going on around you,” wrote Patricia E. Bauer, NOMA’s co-vice chair, in an email to members Tuesday.

Some Montana merchants claimed, according to the email, that this rash of burglaries was the largest in over 30 years, but Moroso said that wasn't true.

"While this burglary series was significant, it is by no means the biggest in 30 years," he said.

"Burglary series such as this one occur from time to time," he added. "We as a police department take them very seriously, and respond with the appropriate personnel and measures to catch the perpetrator(s), as we did in this case."

The email also expressed concern over SMPD's deployment strategies.

“Several said they are concerned that criminals are targeting the neighborhood because Santa Monica Police Department staffing patterns are concentrating patrols in downtown areas, away from Montana Avenue,” Bauer wrote.

Moroso said, "While the Santa Monica Police Department does have an array of visible patrol units in the downtown area due to the density of that area, the police staffing levels for the Montana Area have remained constant over the years including when this series took place."

And, according to Bauer, since the burglaries began, SMPD detectives have been working around the clock to identify and arrest suspects.

Moroso also offered some tips to store owners to help deter would-be buglars.

“Leave your lights on if you can,” he said. “Make sure your alarm is activated and try to keep as little cash in the cash register as possible.”

Moroso said that those with any information regarding the recent break-ins should call Detective Sky Lambert at 310-458-2233.

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