Authorities are investigating whether a string of 46 smash-and-grab burglaries across Southern California are linked, including 16 that took place at small businesses in the San Gabriel Valley early Thursday morning.
Six such incidents were reported overnight across San Dimas, another six in Azusa, four in Monrovia and one in Glendora, according to officials with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and local police. Two burglaries are Duarte were no longer believed to be linked, authorities later said.
Most the locations were small restaurants and food spots, though two liquor stores and a beauty supply shop were also hit.
Stores in Azusa seemed to be struck first, with a robbery first being reported at 1:25 a.m. and a front window or door broken at each location, said Cpl. Cherie Miller with the Azusa Police Department.
Investigators had not yet determined what time other burglaries occurred, but Miller said Louie’s Liquor on Foothill Boulevard, Tasty BBQ Kitchen and Super Liquor on Citrus Avenue and Pieology and Chinese Taste on Alosta Avenue were all targeted.
At some locations cash and other personal property were taken, while at others nothing was missing.
In San Dimas, money was not missing at all the locations whose windows were smashed, either, according to L.A. County Sheriff’s Sgt. Bodell.
The six business affected there were all hit between 2 and 3 a.m. and include O Sushi and Grill and La Villa Kitchen on Via Verde, and Daily Donuts, Inland Beauty and Supply, Chopsticks House and Baskin-Robbins on West Arrow Highway.
The owners of Daily Donuts told deputies they saw two men wearing hoodies escaping the scene in a dark-colored sedan as their family, including their daughter, was coming in to work in the morning.
Of the four such burglaries that occurred in Monrovia, detectives are confident at least three were carried out by the same individuals.
A Coffee Bean, Yogurtland and Noor’s Indian Cuisine — all on the 100 block of Myrtle Avenue — were hit around 4:30 a.m., said Monrovia Police Sgt. Covarrubias. Like at other locations, the businesses’ front doors were smashed and cash registers were found on the floor.
The fourth location that was robbed, Rigo’s Mexican Food on Foothill Boulevard, may or may not be linked but similar tactics were used, investigators said.
In Glendora, it’s not clear what time Rita’s Italian Ice & Frozen Custard Shop on the 800 block of Route 66 was robbed, said Tricia Ayers, a public information officer for the Glendora Police Department.
An undisclosed amount of cash was taken from the store, she added.
Sheriff’s officials in Duarte said two locations had suffered smash-and-grab incidents but detectives were still working on a report with the businesses’ locations.
Investigators across the region believe the crime scenes are related, and are investigating to see if they are related to ones in other jurisdictions, including Claremont, La Verne, Upland, Chino, Chino Hills, Monrovia and Norco.
On Thursday, three people were arrested in connection to a burglary that occurred shortly before 4 a.m. in the 100 block of Hidden Valley in Norco, according to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.
The suspects fled, but they were apprehended nearly four hours later in near the 2000 block of Temescal, Riverside sheriff’s officials said.
Authorities identified the suspects — all Compton residents — as 20-year-old Fredrick James Reed and 20-year-old Jamal Javen Pugh; the third suspect, 17-year-old boy, was not identified.
It was still not immediately clear if they were connected in any way to the San Gabriel Valley burglaries. Investigators believe multiple crews may be involved.
In most of the security footage available, the perpetrators’ faces are obscured. In one such video obtained so far four suspects are seen with their faces fully covered, Glendora police said. Monrovia police also said about four to five suspects were observed.
The suspects in San Dimas have been described as two to four black men wearing dark clothes and hooded sweatshirts and driving a four-door, dark-colored sedan.
Sheriff’s officials believe those incidents are tied to others in Azusa, Glendora and La Verne.