Detectives were hoping that newly released surveillance video would help them catch a burglar who allegedly broke into an apartment in Reseda and possibly assaulted a 7-year-old girl while she slept, police said.
The incident occurred on the 6300 block of Reseda Boulevard (map) on June 7 at about 1 a.m., according to a blog post on the the Los Angeles Police Department's website.
The burglar climbed up onto the utility meters, cut the screen over an unlocked window and entered the apartment, the post stated. He then removed cash and jewelry from the residence, according to police.
Detectives were also investigating whether he assaulted a little girl who was sleeping at the time.
The girl's deeply upset mother said she initially hadn't even realized that her apartment had been burglarized until she saw that her kitchen window had been altered and that some of the family's belongings were scattered.
But that paled in comparison to what she found when she went into her the room shared by her daughter and 4-year-old son.
"He had torn her underwear very badly," the mother, who did not want to be identified, told KTLA through tears.
She said her heart stopped when she saw what he had done to her daughter.
"Everything he took -- my wedding rings, my jewelry, it's fine. That fear that he has put into my heart, and my husband's heart, or that guilt that you have that someone tried to hurt your child in your own home is something that either is never going to go away, or take years and years to go away," the mother said.
According to police, the burglar returned to the apartment just 45 minutes later and unsuccessfully tried to get inside again.
He was believed to have committed another burglary "immediately following the crime," and was likely responsible for several other burglaries that had occurred in the area in the past year, the LAPD blog post stated.
The family told KTLA they were so distraught over the ordeal that they have since moved out of the apartment.
"I just want him to be caught," the mother said. "Please, I'm just begging for somebody to come forward that recognized him, so he will never try to hurt another family again."
Police have described the man as Hispanic, standing about 5 feet 8 inches tall with a medium build and short hair, according to the post. He was believed to be between 17 and 22 years old.
Anyone with information was asked to call West Valley Burglary Detective Patrick Aluotto at 818-374-7775 or, during non-business hours and on weekends, 877-527-3247.
Anonymous tips can also be left through Crime Stoppers by calling 800-222-8477, texting a message beginning with the letters "LAPD" to 274637, or through the website LAPDOnline.org.