Malibu neighborhood mobilizes to fight crime

Nearly 200 Malibu residents showed up on Thursday, March 24, to discuss the armed burglary and reports of a crew of burglars casing homes. Photo by Judy Abel/TMT.

Nearly 200 people showed up Thursday, March 24, to a meeting of Sunset Mesa neighborhood residents to discuss options for creating safety. The neighborhood was jolted this week by an armed burglary and reports of a crew of burglars casing homes. 

The Malibu Times spoke with Joanne Mosconi, who was still rattled after armed burglars broke into her home while she was getting ready for bed March 16. The crew of criminals was spotted on surveillance video peering into her home earlier that evening but didn’t break in until she was home alone. A detective speculated that they may have broken in when she was alone because sometimes thieves find it advantageous to have a female in the home who may be vulnerable to “show them where the goods are.” Mosconi was in her closet and heard glass shatter, heard intruders just feet away and then ran for her life barefoot in her pajamas to a neighbor. She screamed to call 911. 

At the same time, another neighbor noticed men breaking into Mosconi’s home. He called police but failed to get a connection. The burglars saw the neighbor and confronted him with a gun as they fled in their cars. In all the commotion, the criminals were not able to take anything, but they have taken a sense of security from residents. 

“It’s important to not stay silent because there’s power in community,” Mosconi said. “My community got together and everybody checked their security cameras. We discovered that these men were casing the neighborhood for three days prior to the incident.” 

Three separate cars were spotted. One looked like a black Uber. There was also a white Dodge Charger and a Chevy Malibu with the license plate number 8TF863.

The white Charger was spotted in the neighborhood Monday after the incident. Private security may have chased it away.

The Thursday, March 24, meeting was held to see what measures households can take. The neighborhood is about to invest in hiring more private security patrols. Lt. Joe Fender from the Sheriff’s Department spoke along with the California Highway Patrol and a few security companies. 

“We have one goal. We want immediate change. We want a proactive security team,” Mosconi stated. 

Deputy Fender speaking to neighborhood residents on March 24 about creating safety at Sunset Mesa. Photo by Judy Abel/TMT

Most neighbors seemed to be on board with hiring more security. Other neighbors groused about what they termed a “police state” and worried that they may “offend people that get stopped if they don’t look like they belong in the neighborhood.” Mosconi said other people have said they wouldn’t mind being offended if it’s all in an effort to curb crime. 

Some Sunset Mesa residents report buying new cameras that “follow you and can zoom in on license plates.” Others have taken matters into their own hands for their protection. Two residents told TMT that since the burglary, they have bought guns. One woman confided that she and her husband bought a shotgun so any potential intruder could hear the intimidating “click-click” of the gun being cocked. 

“It’s your second amendment right to own one,” said another Malibu resident who asked not to be identified.

“Previously security has not been a main focus here. Usually their focus is protecting their ocean views,” Mosconi said. “If you have a safe neighborhood, that’s great, but when you’re looking at your ocean view and worried about a gun being held up, the game has changed. We’re trying to make them aware that what happened to me can happen to any of them (neighbors). It was a shock and everyone’s concerned.” 

Mosconi reported most of her neighbors support her efforts to be united against crime. 

“It seems like people want to be safe,” she said. “We’re stronger together. When community works together, speaks out, helps each other, and looks out for each other, we’re going to all feel safer just knowing we’re communicating now. I know my neighbors now.”