Police: Burglary Crew Hits L.A. Mansions

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 26, 2005

LOS ANGELES – Police searched for a burglary crew that has ripped off more than $7 million in jewelry, rare books and cash from the homes of celebrities, sports stars and corporate tycoons.

The burglars managed to enter and leave some 50 homes in Los Angeles’ wealthiest neighborhoods without triggering elaborate alarms or leaving fingerprints or DNA evidence, authorities said Thursday.

“They target as many people of non-celebrity status as celebrities,” said Lt. Ray Lombardo, who is leading the hunt for the burglars, whom he called “professionals.”

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The burglars have hit mansions in Brentwood, Beverly Hills and the city’s so-called Platinum Triangle of Bel-Air, Encino and Holmby Hills. Until recently, they have left few clues.

Police distributed images grabbed by a security camera at an Encino estate depicting two muscular men without their masks. Police described the suspects as 25 to 30 years old and weighing up to 240 pounds.

So far, detectives are not aware of any of the stolen jewelry _ some pieces valued at more than $500,000 _ reaching the black market, police said.

Police did not release the names of the victims and declined to say how burglars entered their homes.

The city offered a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the two men.

“These guys are a two-man hillside crime wave. They are quick hit artists,” said Councilman Jack Weiss, who represents the area. “They are clearly knowledgeable and sophisticated.”

A service of the Associated Press(AP)