Another La Jolla burglary is attributed to crime ring; total rises to 19, police say

Police Lt. Rick Aguilar, joined by Community Relations Officer Jessica Thrift, addresses the La Jolla Town Council.
San Diego police Lt. Rick Aguilar, joined by Community Relations Officer Jessica Thrift, updates the La Jolla Town Council on recent burglaries.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

Two weeks after meeting with community members about a series of residential burglaries in La Jolla linked to a South American crime ring, San Diego police told the La Jolla Town Council on March 10 that another burglary occurred about a week ago, bringing the local total attributed to the ring to 19.

At the community meeting Feb. 22, police said no similar burglaries had occurred in La Jolla since Jan. 21.

Police Lt. Rick Aguilar told the Town Council that the latest burglary is still under investigation and he was unable to release more details.

The crime ring has been connected to other burglaries across San Diego County, as well as in other areas of California, Tennessee, Florida and “all the way up into the New York area,” Aguilar said.

Since January, the San Diego Police Department’s Northern Division has increased its presence in La Jolla, with officers patrolling on overtime and plainclothes officers also keeping watch.

At one home in the Northwestern Division, which includes neighborhoods such as Sorrento Valley, Del Mar Heights and Carmel Valley, burglars were confronted by homeowners and “took off right away,” with the homeowners giving chase in their car, Aguilar said. The thieves threw a jacket out the window and “we were able to recover that jacket and are getting a lot of intelligence off of [it],” he said.

The burglars typically break into a door or window at the back of a house, usually upstairs since windows on upper floors are less likely to have alarms, he said.

Then they head to the primary bedroom looking for expensive jewelry, Aguilar said.

Burglars left this mess when they hit a Muirlands Drive home in La Jolla in December.
Burglars left this mess when they hit a Muirlands Drive home in La Jolla in December, stealing jewelry, watches, purses and other valuables.
(Courtesy photo)

“Before they commit all their burglaries, they do a lot of surveillance themselves,” he said. They also dress in high-end clothing and drive “nice vehicles” to blend into the neighborhood.

Aguilar said SDPD has not yet arrested any suspects, though a few arrests have been made in Anaheim and Newport Beach.

Aguilar advised people to activate their home alarm when leaving the house and ensure that surveillance cameras are working.

He suggested motion-activated lights and encouraged residents to use hidden safes for valuables.

“If you see something, please say something,” Aguilar added. He can be reached via email at

The biggest spikes were in hate crimes and vehicle thefts. The violent crime rate was the city’s highest in nearly a decade.

March 10, 2022

Other Town Council news

La Jolla Town Council President James Rudolph starts the group's March 10 meeting, its first in person since early 2020.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

Membership: The Town Council laid out its goals to increase its membership and recruit trustees.

About 15 people attended the March 10 meeting at the La Jolla Recreation Center, the Town Council’s first in-person meeting since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020.

The Town Council had offered a Zoom option for the meeting, with several presenters, trustees and others planning to attend virtually, but learned upon arrival that the Wi-Fi equipment had been removed from the Rec Center for repair.

Town Council President James Rudolph said future meetings will have a Zoom option for those more comfortable attending online. “It’s convenient and it drives up participation,” he said.

As a way to engage La Jollans, the Town Council has begun setting up a table twice a month at the weekly La Jolla Open Aire Market at Girard Avenue and Genter Street.

Town Council Vice President Jerri Hunt asked those attending the meeting to spread the word that the group is looking to increase its membership. Dues are $25 annually, and members and trustees must live, work or own a business in La Jolla.

“Our main focus is to give a voice to La Jollans and to hook them up with the people that are actually the decision-makers in San Diego,” Hunt said. “We bring the important people in and give you all a chance to talk with them and ask them questions and give them pressure. … Then we can initiate change.”

Rudolph said “we provide a town hall forum [as a] nonpartisan organization ... and we have informational sessions. … We can cover all things; we present both sides of things.”

Hunt said the Town Council is looking to fill four vacant trustee spots. “We’re looking for all ages; we want every part of La Jolla to be represented,” she said. “If you care about La Jolla and you care about making sure that we’re all informed, we would love for you to apply.”

Applications for trustee seats will be accepted through Friday, April 8. Candidates should have attended at least three Town Council meetings in the 12 months before the election.

Nominees will be interviewed and presented by the Town Council Executive Committee. Trustees will be sworn in Thursday, May 12.

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Next meeting: The Town Council next meets at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 14, likely at the Recreation Center and online. ◆