The Perfect Crime

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Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriffs

Two Our Lady of Malibu parents were victims of vehicle break-ins during the busy morning drop-off period earlier this month, and now one mom is trying to raise awareness so that other parents don’t become victims as well.

On the morning of Thursday, Sept. 8, the first week back at school for OLM students, two cars were broken into simultaneously.

“Last Thursday morning around 7:50 a.m. while I was walking [my daughter] up to her classroom at OLM, and while my car was sitting in the paved school parking lot, a car apparently pulled in the parking spot right between my [car] and another mom’s car,” the victim wrote in an email. “A woman and man (someone thinks) got out of their car and quickly bashed each of our passenger windows and stole her purse, and stole my purse, computer, Italian computer bag and my lunch bag, out of the passenger seat area. Then they took off in their car.”

The victim, who wishes to remain anonymous, said she’s sharing her story so that others can take steps to avoid this type of crime. According to school administrators, her emailed warning was shared school-wide.

The mom’s description was consistent with what was written in an incident report filed with the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station. The detective had spoken to a witness at the scene.

“I contacted [the witness] via telephone and he stated there was a black SUV that was parked in the stall in-between the two vehicles which were broken into,” the report stated. “[The witness] stated inside of the black SUV there was a male and a female adult in the front driver and passenger seat. [He] stated they were possibly white or Hispanic. [He] stated this vehicle pulled out of the parking stall at a high rate of speed and stated both adults appeared to be laughing.”

OLM Principal Michael Smith said that, while nothing like the thefts had occurred at OLM in anyone’s memory, the school is taking steps to make sure parents feel safe bringing their kids to class.

“We are in the process of having security cameras installed in that parking lot as a result,” Smith explained.

The victim said it would also be wise to keep valuables on hand instead of leaving them on car seats, even for just a few minutes.

“The [investigator] on the case said this is the new crime around this area (and he said in other areas in LA too),” she wrote in the email. “These people are very well organized and are targeting moms’ cars at schools because they know moms usually have to walk the kids up to school.” This “perfect crime” is a result of moms and dads with their hands full of lunch boxes and backpacks, in a rush on their way to work — often with valuables, like the $1,300 laptop stolen from one of the vehicles.

“The [investigator] said this could happen in any parking lot, though — not just at schools,” the email continued. “He said women often times leave their purses in their cars while they quickly run to get something or do something. He said we must bring any valuable stuff in with us anytime we are leaving our cars.”

Deputy Deschino of the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station said that  the advice was good.

“I think the advice to remove valuables from plain view in a vehicle is good advice, whether that is done by concealing them (in the trunk possibly) or taking them with you,” Deschino wrote in an email to The Malibu Times. “That would include additional car keys, wallets, cell phones, jewelry, etc. Especially with the holidays approaching soon, that also includes presents.”