Sunday, December 28, 2014

Reports of Two More Home Invasions in 2014 in the Abbot Kinney/Windward Circle Neighborhood

A picture captured by Twitter user @Venice311 showed a women hiding from a man who had allegedly broke into her home.

Editor's Note:  As long as the City continues to allow transients, often drugged out and/or mentally ill, to violate the City's own ordinances and curfew against camping in parks, these individuals will remain in our town and residents will be exposed to terrifying incidents like those that follow. This forces residents and their families into an existential form of Russian Roulette, imposed on them by the lack of action and leadership by City Councilman Bonin, Mayor Garcetti, Police Chief Beck and the commissioners of the Police Commission and the Recreation and Parks Commission (the latter which has jurisdiction over the Venice Beach Recreation Area). Will the next home invasion result in death? Or the one after that?  Why does the City keep fighting its own residents to maintain an illegal campgrounds on Venice Beach?

On July 18th, 2014, two burglars broke into our home in the 400 block of Grand Blvd.

At the time, we were at home asleep with our 5 year old son and 2 year old daughter. Our son had a nightmare earlier that night and was asleep in our bed, while our daughter was alone in the children's bedroom.

At around 3:45 am, we heard something drop in the kitchen, and I looked up and saw a flashlight in the hallway. I whispered to my partner that someone was in the house. The person heard me and began moving quickly. My partner heard this and screamed at him to get out of our house. I ran to grab my daughter while he chased the guy out the back door. We then saw another guy run past the house in the other direction. They didn't have time to collect three of their four shoes (which they had taken off so as not to wake us while they walked through our bedroom). They dropped a laptop and a box cutter beside the house on their way out.

They had taken my car keys, several laptops and our phones. Fortunately we had a landline which we used to call the police. About 20 minutes later my partner saw that my phone registered on Find My iPhone, placing one of the burglars in an alley in Venice. The police sent several units and cornered him with all of our belongings, no shoes on, and the fourth shoe in his bag. He was arrested, but since he was three weeks shy of 18 years old, we were told that he would not get more than juvenile camp for more than a few months. (This means he is back on the streets by now.) And he did not give up his partner.

I should note that we have a six foot high fence. These prowlers climbed over a neighbor's wall to enter our property, and pried opened a window next to our front door to enter the house. It took my five year old a long time before he could go to bed without making sure all of the doors and windows were locked. And on most nights, I still go to sleep thinking that someone is lurking outside of my window. The other incidents happening in our neighborhood make those fears even stronger.

Last weekend, my partner saw two transients sleeping in the children's park on Venice beach - in the morning. When will the City start protecting Venice families?

October 4th at 3:30 in the afternoon on the 500 block of Rialto Ave.

It was a spectacularly beautiful afternoon and we had the doors and windows to our place open enjoying the great weather. An out of town guest was visiting and we were beginning to get things ready for an early dinner. Our house opens directly to the cottage next door where our tenant of 3 years resides.

We were suddenly surprised by someone screaming. At first we couldn’t tell where it came from or who was, but it was obviously from someone in great distress. My partner and I went out the side door and heard additional screams from the alley behind our house. It was evident that it was our tenant, and that she was screaming ‘Help me, there’s someone in my house’. It was terrifying to hear.

We immediately ran to the alley where we saw our tenant, who was already calling 911. My partner made sure she was OK and I ran to the back door of her cottage. A 40 something transient was coming out the back door as I was going in. He immediately said ‘I didn't do anything. I’m sorry, I didn't know she was your wife.’ I didn't correct him. He had scraped his hand jumping over the front gate of her place, which is 5’6” tall and is always locked. He told me he had come directly from the beach, where he was living and that he was being chased by some other transients. It was obvious that no one was chasing him.

Our tenant said she was reading on her bed, when the guy opened her front door and came at her with his hands raised in a threatening manner. She screamed at him to get out but he continued moving toward her; she bolted out the back door. I told the creep that he wasn't going anywhere until the police came. He didn't offer any resistance, took his shirt off for some reason and sat on a chair outside.

By this time a lot of neighbors came out to see what was going on and had gathered by the back gate. Many were armed with whatever was immediately available; a shovel, a bat an more.

The police arrived within a few minutes, which was great. They then repeatedly asked me if I had used force to restrain the creep; honestly they seemed more concerned that I had held him or physically restrained him in any way. This truthfully pissed me off and I told them so. They also told me to get a motion sensor light; not too helpful at 3:30 pm.

It turns out the creep had just arrived in Venice form the East Coast where he jumped bail on a felony burglary charge.

I attended the recent court hearing along with our tenant where we both testified under oath about the incident. The defense attorney repeatedly insinuated that our tenant had invited the creep into her house. I don’t know how much more insulting that could be, it was a despicable and disgraceful move by the defense. I was repeatedly asked about the property and the surrounding fences and gates. As I designed and built the entire place, this didn’t provide the defense with a lot of questions. The arresting officer was in court as awitness as well, it was his day off and we both really appreciated his attendance.

Since the creep has prior felony charges and an outstanding warrant, the Deputy District Attorney informed us that they were going to ask for 8 years. The trial is scheduled for next month. Once he finishes his sentence in CA, he will be extradited to the East Coast to serve his sentence there as well. He won’t be on the street again for quite a while.