Investigators say that a hidden tracking device inside of a stolen designer purse helped them in the arrests of several members of a burglary crew targeting several Southland communities in recent months.
According to Los Angeles Police Department members of the group are suspected of committing at least 20 home burglaries in West Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley.
"The M.O. they were using, they were going along the side of the house into the rear yard and smashing one of the windows and going inside," said LAPD Detective Timothy Kirkpatrick.
Members of the crew were caught on camera at several different homes, making off with stolen items in places like Granada Hills and Studio City, where three homes were hit last Friday.
It was from one of those homes that the suspects stole the designer handbag equipped with the concealed tracker. The homeowner was alerted of the burglary by home surveillance footage and the tracker's sudden movement.
In turn, he drove to the location shown on the tracker in Mar Vista.
"He had already seen surveillance footage from his house, and he saw the same vehicle parked in front of a house," said Det. Kirkpatrick. "He saw them fleeing from a house with property put inside of the car and quickly driving away."
It was then that he contacted police, telling them what he had witnessed and where he tracked the purse's latest location — Inglewood.
Investigators witnessed the group of suspects attempting to break into a stolen safe, from the Mar Vista home, via one of their helicopters.
Three suspects were arrested at the time and police recovered several stolen items including merchandise, firearms and the stolen handbag.
"This is a significant arrest," Kirkpatrick said. "The victim was definitely important in this one; assisting us and helping direct us to the suspects and where they were."
None of the suspects have yet been identified as the investigation continues.
for more features.