Car break-ins at Civic Center condos under investigation

LA County Sheriffs

Authorities are investigating a spate of five car break-ins at the Maison De Ville Condominiums near the Civic Center on the night of Jan. 28. The burglars made off with iPods, a laptop and a GPS navigation system, among other items, according to Lt. Dave Thompson of the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station. 

The one-night crime spree raises to 13 the number of reported vehicle break-ins in Malibu since the beginning of 2013, a number slightly higher than what the Los Angeles County Sheriff ’s Department reported for the city last year at this time. 

“It got jacked up with those five in one night,” Thompson said. “That’s a little high. It’s only the middle of February, but I’d like to see that number be lower.” 

Thompson said he was not aware of a pattern linking the 13 break-ins. Last year at this time 10 vehicle break-ins had been reported in Malibu, according to documents provided by the Sheriff ’s department to the city’s Public Safety Commission. A total of 82 car break-ins were reported in 2012, an average of nearly seven per month. 

Detectives combed the cars for fingerprints on the morning of Jan. 29, and there are currently no leads or suspects in the Maison De Ville break-ins, Thompson said. Maison De Ville condos are located at 23900 Civic Center Way, just east of Pepperdine University. 

The burglaries occurred sometime between 11 p.m. on Jan. 28 and 6 a.m. on Jan. 29. The suspect or suspects stole iPods, a laptop, a briefcase, golf clubs, a GPS navigation system and a wallet. Loose change was also taken from some of the cars, which the detective said could indicate a homeless person or persons were responsible for the thefts. 

“Anytime there’s a case where they take change from cars, we tend to think it might be a transient involved,” Thompson said. 

Residents of the condominiums told The Malibu Times it appeared car windows had been broken by solid objects covered in towels or some type of cushioning, but Thompson could not confirm the details of how the burglars went about gaining access. 

“There are a number of ways they can get in, they do a lot of different things to break windows,” he said. 

Though these car burglaries are often random and unpredictable, Thompson said many are preventable. He constantly advises drivers not to leave valuables in their vehicles, or at least hide them. 

“The issue is people still leave so much stuff in their car,” he said. “We’re not in Mayberry, there is no Mayberry. [Malibu is] safer than most places, but when people leave laptops and stuff out, it’ll still get taken.” 

Aside from the 13 break-ins thus far, there have also been three thefts this year involving unlocked cars. 

Anyone with information on the Maison De Ville break-ins is asked to call the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff ’s station at 818.878.1808.