Did crime come knocking on the door of a Silver Lake councilman? *

NeighborhoodWatchLogo.JPGSilver Lake residents living in the hills west of the reservoir have been circulating an email warning of a young man who has been knocking on front doors and chatting about the neighborhood, his parents, dogs and college. The man, who is described as a white male in his early 20s, might be connected to some recent “confidence” or “distraction” burglaries, and one of the targets could have been Councilman Tom LaBonge, according to the email. “I also spoke w/Councilman Tom LaBonge — and guess what? The exact same guy rang his bell just a week ago,” said the email sent out by a Silver Lake resident earlier this week. It’s still not clear if the man is part of a criminal ring and, The Eastsider has contacted LAPD to get more information * . But Carolyn Ramsay, a spokeswoman for LaBonge, said the man did approach the councilman at home as described in the email. Click on the link below to read the email in full.

* Update: Capt. Bill Murphy of the LAPD Northeast Division said he has placed extra officers in the area but does not think the man described above has been involved in any distraction burglaries. “He appears to simply be a scammer seeking donations door to door,” Murphy said in an email distributed to residents this afternoon.

Friends and neighbors; After a creepy incident at my own front door early this evening, I made two calls that confirmed my instincts; please be aware that I have confirmed there is a suspicious young man (possibly a group) trolling our neighborhood, and the LAPD thinks he/they are attempting burglaries or worse.

Here’s the scoop:

At 5:30 today a young man, possibly Caucasian — maybe of eastern European descent — about 21-25 yrs, 5’10”- 6 ft or so, red shorts, black t shirt, light colored eyes, rang our bell at home. Said he was the son off our “neighbors, Dr. and Mrs Harmon who live up the hill” (pointed to Micheltorena). I said I had never heard of them. He said, “you know them — they walk two little shih tzu dogs”. When I didn’t respond favorably, he became agitated. I asked what he wanted. He didn’t answer but rather, tried to charm me with his excitement about college.Said he was going to USC and was looking to play football there, and “hey, by the way…” he wanted to know, where did I go to school? I reiterated that I was very busy and could not talk, and would he please state the nature of his business. He became visibly angry and verbally inappropriate, telling me he’d be back. I said there was no need, wished him a good day, and shut the view finder. He walked off quickly.

I called the LAPD and in fact there’s been an alarming increase in “confidence break ins” on this hill. Individuals, seemingly fine — if not even familiar — ring your bell and charm you enough to win your confidence. Often they have just enough local knowledge and savvy to cause the impression that they are your neighbor. You let them in and bam — you’re robbed. This same guy has hit at least three houses on this hill, at least that are known about. Last week a break-in on Effie yielded two arrests, but the officer I spoke with says it seems to be a larger ring. There are clearly people casing this neighborhood, I was told.

I also spoke w/Councilman Tom LaBonge — and guess what? The exact same guy rang his bell just a week ago. Tom and I compared notes; only diff was that at his house, the guy said his parents lived on Carnation and had two large dogs, and that guy was interested in baseball. Different dogs and sport — same M.O.

We all need to be alert. Here’s what both Tom and I discussed, and what the LAPD instructs, to stay safe:
1. DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR if you don’t know who’s there.
2. Do not give an personal info whatsoever; do not even engage the conversation.
3. If the guy persists, tell him to please leave literature about his cause and you’ll take a look.
4. Call LAPD Northwest Division IMMEDIATELY if you see the guy or suspect as much — they are looking for him.

Feel free to pass this on, and pls accept my apologies for the scare. Unfortunately, it is justified that I alert our neighborhood to this potential danger.

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