Silver Lake couple see a burglar sneak into their home – from their laptop

Photo courtesy by Matt Hartman

Matt Hartman and his wife left their Silver Lake apartment on Thursday afternoon for a New Year’s holiday getaway to Palm Springs.  But only a few hours after arriving in the desert resort, Hartman got a call from a  neighbor saying the back door to the couple’s  Silver Lake duplex had been left open.  Hartman quickly turned on  his laptop computer to check footage from four outdoor surveillance cameras on the property. What he saw on his laptop screen from Palm Springs were images of a diligent burglar who had entered his Silver Lake home only hours earlier.

The man entered the  second-floor apartment near Effie Street and Lucile Avenue on Dec. 30 at about noon after he watched the couple and their downstairs neighbors leave their apartments Hartman said. The burglar jumped a fence into the backyard of the duplex and took his time, looking through  mail boxes and under floor mats.  Hartman describes the rest via email:

“Then he tried every door, window and crawl space … you name it, he tried it. Then he proceeded up a spiral staircase towards the back of our place then found our sliding glass door that leads into our bedroom … that was unlocked.”

“It was frightening to look at,” Hartman said of the video, which he watched only a few hours after break-in. The burglar, who appeared to be a Latino or African American male in his late 30s or 40s with a medium build,  spent about 45 minutes on the property.  Hartman said the man stole his wife’s jewelry, including her engagement ring, a laptop as well as a bike with two flat tires.

Hartman and his wife, who spent only a few hours in Palm Springs before returning home to Silver Lake, have given copies of the camera footage to police.


  1. why did they sit there watching for 45 min instead of calling the police to go catch the guy in the act!? wtf.

  2. learn to read, duh. it says they watched the video a few hours later.

  3. I’m trying to figure out how this burglar knew they were leaving at that time, or if it’s random. Either way it’s frightening, but thanks for sharing with your neighbors. Live a block away and it’s good to know this happened. Hope they get your stuff back.

  4. One hopes fervently that the police are able to use the footage and apprehend this criminal. Unbelievable that we as a society tolerate this kind of fearless predation, really.

  5. Usually when people get robbed while on away on a trip/vacation, the burglar has either staked the place out or the couple has been betrayed by a friend/acquaintance.

    Based on the time spent in the house, this person knew the residents would be gone for a specific amount of time.

  6. I certainly feel for those residents. It’s not just the stolen property, but the fact their home was invaded. Scary. Am wondering what type of security technology they used. Been looking for some kind of security system that could be brought up on a smart phone. Would be nice to have some kind of signal to the phone when a motion detector/camera picks up anything. Not sure if it’s been invented yet, but if so, it would be somewhat of a relief to be tipped off immediately. Then the police could be called on the spot. Any ideas?

  7. @EPinion

    You mean, like, the motion detector sending a text or email when it’s activated by some kind of motion? Doesn’t sound like science fiction to me. You could then wire the home phone to a loudspeaker and leave a message for the burglar to hear, telling him the police are on their way. It could save your property. If this hasn’t been invented yet, someone should get busy.

  8. There are a couple of iPhonem security apps listed here.


  9. About 30 years ago, I had a very simple security system that consisted of a box with a listening device and a loud alarm horn. It would listen to noises and interpret high-frequency sounds – like breaking glass – as hostile. It would then sound a hair-raising alarm, usually BEFORE the bad guys made it past the broken window into the residence. Totally portable, one piece, plugged into the wall. Period. Very simple and pretty effective.

  10. I also wonder why they sat and watched instead of call the cops right away…. still, good thing they had the tape to turn over to them.

  11. They didn’t “sit and watch”. Their neighbor called them and told them their back door was open and then they logged into the computer and saw images of the burglar who had entered their home HOURS EARLIER. Read the article. Sheeesh.

  12. It seems weird that they would have such a fancy surveillance system, but not a normal burglar alarm that when tripped, would alert the alarm company who would, in turn, call the police. I know those things aren’t fool-proof, but the cops would’ve gotten a call before 45 mintues were up. Strange.

  13. Why did the owners leave the back sliding door unlocked? That’s where the burglar finally got in. I wonder if it would’ve been locked, if he would’ve given up and gone away.

  14. Having worked alarm responses I can tell you that there are systems out there that will not only alert the alarm company, but will also alert you and you can pull up pictures real time or your company can, then the company can dispatch their guards or the police. You can also get systems with audio, where the alarm people can speak directly to the burglar and tell, “The man in the blue shirt and black pants to immediately leave,” etc. so that things can be stopped right there and you’re less likely to have things stolen. I had one upscale home that drove me nuts. An upstairs door didn’t lock properly and one week I responded three times to the alarm going off. Nothing got taken, but not only was I repeatedly going over there to make sure everything was all right, but because the door would be unlatched I would spend a lot of time clearing the inside of the house to make sure no one was still there. It was a huge home and, although it’s my job to check things out, it’s no fun going room to room, 3 times in a week, not knowing if a burglar or a scared stupid teenager on drugs was going to bash you around the next corner or hiding in a bedroom closet. But your first and best line of defense is you. Not only should the sliding glass door have been locked (“Don’t just check-Double check” especially if you’re going on vacation.) but you can have screw latches on the inside bottom that prevent the door from being opened, since sliding door locks are easy to jimmie and dowel bars can be jarred out. A high percentage of burglars will give up and go onto something easier if doors and windows are secure. There are also coverings that can be put on your windows that make them almost impossible to break. Some of those make your window like a one way glass so that burglars can’t see you or the goodies inside. And don’t hang extra keys on racks by the door. Put them in lock boxes or you may come home to your second car missing, too and the necessity of having to change or rekey all your locks. My town is patrolled by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Some people in town are volunteers at the Sheriff’s Station and regularly work neighborhood patrols in a volunteer patrol car. They are trained and go through background checks. If we’re on vacation we can go to the Sheriff’s Station and have routine checks done on our property while we’re gone. This gives the high visability of a patrol car stopping by your house and making sure it’s locked up. You also want to make sure newspapers and mail doesn’t pile up.

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