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Glendale police vow to keep public more informed

Residents of Glendale neighborhood on lockdown during burglary aftermath want better communication in the future.

April 24, 2012|By Veronica Rocha, veronica.rocha@latimes.com

A police commander on Monday night pledged to communicate better with residents after they expressed concerns about being under a seven-hour lockdown earlier this month as officers searched for four alleged burglars near ABC studios.

Police placed the neighborhood on lockdown April 3 due to fears that the alleged burglars could have weapons, Glendale Police Lt. Bruce Fox said at the town hall meeting. The previous day, thieves stole a cache of guns from a Glendale home, he added.

The alleged burglars on April 3 — who authorities say are tied to an organized crime ring targeting affluent neighborhoods — were eventually found hiding in a resident's home garage on Cosmic Way hours after residents were forbidden to enter their neighborhood.

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“We don't want to interject people back into a situation, where we don't know where we are sending you into,” Fox said.

The incident left some residents frustrated due to what they said was a lack of communication with police.

“One of the biggest concerns is that we had nearly 40 people that were stuck outside the neighborhood and they really just weren't getting any information,” resident Shara Versweyveld said.

Residents were stuck in cars, and holding out at Disney's nearby creative campus hoping police would talk to them and provide updates, she added.

Some residents were concerned about retrieving vital medication from their homes and supplies for their grandchildren, Versweyveld said.

She suggested developing a plan should similar incidents occur again.

Some residents at the meeting commended police for their response to alleged burglaries.

Police initially found three of the four suspects inside the Cosmic Way garage. Hours later, they returned again and found the fourth suspect hiding in a crawl space.

“When we thought about leaving that neighborhood behind without knowing where that guy is and what the potential for him being in someone's house, it just didn't sit well with us,” Fox said.

Looking back on the incident, Fox said he and Community Lead Officer Josh Luna should have acted as liaisons for residents and kept them informed about the incident.

“It probably would have gone a long way in helping everybody understand a little better and maybe just giving them a periodic update probably would have helped a lot,” he said. “If this were to happen again, that would be important to do.”

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