Police on Wednesday released surveillance video and photos of a serial burglar who has broken into dozens of closed businesses in the western part of the San Fernando Valley over the past few months as part of ramped up efforts to catch him.
Dubbed “the Ghost,” the prolific burglar has hit 43 businesses, mostly along Ventura Boulevard or Topanga Boulevard, since mid-July, according to a Los Angeles Police Department news release.
One of the most recent break-ins occurred at the Franklin Hardware store in Woodland Hills, and resulted in nearly $1,000 in damage at the store, according to LAPD Lt. Paul Weber.
“Most often, the burglar’s take is far less than the damage he causes,” Weber said, according to the news release.
Police have ramped up their efforts to catch “the Ghost” over the past several weeks. As part of their efforts, investigators have conducted stakeouts, used undercover officers, set up decoy cars, and posted no-cash-on-premises signs on business doors, the release stated.
“We encourage businesses to leave registers open with the till empty and lying on top, to show there’s no money to be had,” Weber said, explaining, “The hope is burglars won’t waste their time breaking in.”
The burglar got his nickname in part because of how careful he is to avoid passing car lights, even hiding for up to 30 minutes before breaking into a business, according to police.
Detectives have used video to link the serial burglar to the crimes, the release stated.
“Until this week, we had no idea what the Ghost looked like, other than he was hooded and gloved,” Weber said.
Investigators now believe the burglar is an Asian man in his 20s, according to Weber.
Police hope surveillance videos and images will help lead to his capture.
Anyone with information in this case is urged to call Detective Amber Kim of Topanga Detective Division at 818-756-5844.
Those who would like to leave a tip anonymously can contact Crime Stoppers by dialing 800-222-8477, or by going to the website www.LAPDOnline.org.