Two house burglaries, three car burglaries and one car theft all occurred the night of Aug. 28 in Western Malibu—and that’s just what was reported to the sheriff’s department. At least a dozen additional instances of cars being ransacked in residents’ driveways that same night were reported by affected individuals on social media, but apparently not called in to the LASD.
Lt. Jim Royal of the Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station said in a phone interview that the five separate incidents officially reported to them included two home burglaries on Calpine Drive.
“In both instances, when the people got up in the morning, there was stuff missing from the kitchen counter,” Royal said. “In one case it was only $10, but in another case it was a couple hundred dollars. One of those houses also had their car burglarized, and the thief used the garage door clicker to get into the house.”
He said this type of crime is sometimes also called a “hot prowl” because the burglar is in the house while people are sleeping, but has no intention of waking them up.
In addition, sheriff’s officials got reports from that night on a burglarized car on Busch Drive and another burglarized car on Zenith Point Road, as well as a car stolen from Sea Level Drive.
“It’s unknown if all of these crimes were related,” he said.
On the morning of Aug. 28, the neighborhood social media website Nextdoor came alive with residents of Western Malibu who woke up to find their vehicles had been burglarized the night before. The owners of a total of about 15 vehicles reported they were ransacked on these streets: Cuthbert Road, PCH near Trancas, off Encinal Canyon Road, Broad Beach Road, Zenith Point Road, Calpine Drive and Horizon Drive.
Royal urged all of the people who experienced a car burglary and did not report it to call the Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station—deputies want reports on these incidents.
It appears the cars ransacked were all unlocked and out in the open—not parked behind a gate or in a closed garage. The thieves were apparently only interested in cash, as several residents reported finding a neighbors’ wallet, credit cards, checkbooks and even a Chanel purse either tossed in the street or in a garbage can with only the cash missing.
A grainy security camera video was circulated several days later of a possible suspect who appeared to be a blonde white female with long hair, and the sheriff’s department would appreciate the public’s help in identifying her. It’s unknown whether she was working alone or with others.
On Sept. 10, vandals defaced a property on Winding Way, repeatedly painting the word “slut.”
A number of people on the social media site directed anger toward visitors who use nearby trails owned by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA).
“This hateful graffiti was the result of the MRCA and the Coastal Commission not allowing us to gate our private streets—plus the fact that they allow gangs and hoodlums to roam our streets without any park supervision,” a resident wrote online. “These crimes have been reported to the sheriff and we’re looking into installing cameras soon.”
The Malibu Park neighborhood has also been hit by mail and package thieves on a number of occasions, to the point where at least a couple households wrote they decided to start getting their mail delivered to the Postal Annex at the Trancas shopping center. Another resident invested in a locking mailbox. Mail theft is investigated by the post office.
A slew of burglaries and petty thefts were mentioned on social media, but many had not been reported to the sheriff’s department.
A resident of Malibu West reported many items stolen from the back of his vehicle on Aug. 18, and a homeowner on Tapia said a bicycle had been stolen. Another resident reported a woman had her purse stolen outside of a grocery store around Aug. 28.
In the early morning of Sept. 5, a resident said that after going for a hike in Solstice Canyon, she heard voices as she was coming back to the parking lot. Once she reached her car, she noticed someone had been in it and tried to open the hood and trunk, and then saw the two cars next to hers had their windows smashed.
One resident reported that petty crime on nearby Broad Beach Road and Lechuza Point has been rising, with more perceived incidents of “car theft, burglary, mail and package delivery thefts, car break-ins and vandalism.”
A resident living near El Matador State Beach also expressed security concerns, explaining visitors can now use the open public accesses on Broad Beach and El Matador to go down to the beach, then use private beach stairs to break into homes. This resident, too, blamed state and local agencies.
A number of residents wrote about steps they were taking to protect themselves—including installing night vision surveillance cameras, external lighting and video doorbells. A few Malibu West residents said there was a “movement” to gate Malibu West and start a Neighborhood Watch program.
Contact the Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station at 310.456.6652 to report crime or any information on a suspect.