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Burglars target commercial vans

Police warn residents to watch for people breaking into work vehicles.

February 21, 2011|By Veronica Rocha, veronica.rocha@latimes.com

GLENDALE — Police are warning the public about a recent spate of burglaries targeting commercial vans throughout the city.

Glendale police officials on Friday blasted e-mails about the burglary trend and alerted vehicle owners to keep their belongings safely hidden.

At least 23 burglaries to work vans have been reported so far this year in south, west and north Glendale, according to the Police Department.

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Police began spotting the trend in September and tracked 15 burglaries until the end of the year, according to the Police Department.

But since the beginning of the year, burglaries to commercial or work vans have skyrocketed.

“Just as soon as they start, we want to get on top of [the burglaries],” said Police Sgt. Dave Higgins.

Most of the burglaries occurred between midnight and 5:30 a.m. Sundays, according to police.

Fourteen break-ins were reported in west Glendale, another 11 in the south and 10 in north Glendale. Only three of the vehicle break-ins occurred in east Glendale.

Chevrolet or GMC cargo vans parked on the street were typically targeted, with thieves punching out the driver’s-side door locks to gain access to drills, saws, compressors, threading machines and other power tools, according to the Police Department. Navigation systems left in plain view were also swiped.

The burglaries haven’t been traced to any suspect or group, Higgins said.

They did receive a tip of a man in dark clothes burglarizing a work van who then ran to an idling gold four-door car and fled, he added.

Still, police are asking the public for help.

“We really don’t have any leads right now,” Higgins said.

Employees at Dunn-Edwards Paints in Glendale, which uses commercial vans and pickup trucks, always to take measures to protect their equipment, said sales associate Ray Parks.

“The painters know not to leave their equipment in their pickup trucks,” he said.

Some painters even chain lock the supplies to the trucks, he added.

Police advised residents to park their work vans in a secured parking area, get a car alarm and hide valuables from plain sight.

Residents should also keep records of the make, model and serial numbers for tools, which can help police track down thieves.

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