La Jolla crime and public safety news: Burglary ring returns; coronavirus numbers; police blotter

To report a non-emergency crime, call the San Diego Police Department at (619) 531-2000 or (858) 484-3154.
To report a non-emergency crime, call the San Diego Police Department at (619) 531-2000 or (858) 484-3154. In an emergency, dial 911.

After months of dormancy, a South American crime ring that targeted La Jolla neighborhoods for burglaries appears to have returned.

San Diego Police Department spokesman Adam Sharki told the La Jolla Light on Oct. 4 that two burglaries in the Pacific Beach and La Jolla area in the past week used the same methods as a rash of earlier burglaries.

“We believe same suspects from the South American theft group have become active again after being dormant since June,” Sharki said. “The modus operandi is the same. The suspects broke into unoccupied homes by shattering the rear slider, going inside and ransacking the master bedroom for valuables (jewelry, watches, cash, etc.). SDPD has diverted anti-burglary operations to those areas and have increased patrols as well.”

One of the latest burglaries occurred in the 2100 block of Blackmore Court in Pacific Beach and the other was in the 5400 block of Avenida Fiesta in La Jolla.

Sharki said the Police Department recommends that the public take the following measures to enhance security and aid police in identifying and apprehending the thieves:

  • If you have surveillance cameras and exterior lighting, try to place them in the backyard at entry points, especially if your house borders a canyon, trail or open space.
  • If you have a home security system, try to add glass-break alarm sensors to sliding door entry points.
  • If you have a surveillance system and have captured footage of suspicious people possibly casing homes in your neighborhood, provide the footage to police.
  • If you store jewelry, cash or other valuables in your master bedroom, secure them in a safe or other parts of the house if possible.
  • If you see any suspicious vehicles in your neighborhood or people walking around at odd hours carrying backpacks, call police.

San Diego police Capt. Scott Wahl said Jan. 21 that there had been 56 residential burglaries in La Jolla in the previous six months, with the peak from November to January. Eighteen were believed connected to the crime ring, Wahl said. Several of the burglaries occurred in the Muirlands neighborhood.

After the department deployed additional resources to the area, including plainclothes officers and a detective on a task force to follow leads, only a handful took place in the months that followed.

Police Lt. Rick Aguilar said earlier this year that the burglars (usually three or four) are typically in their early 20s to mid-30s, wearing high-end clothing. They often case a neighborhood to learn patterns, driving high-end vehicles to blend in. In some cases, they approach a house on foot from surrounding trails and canyons. In others, a driver drops them off and waits down the street in a getaway car.

Coronavirus by the numbers

The San Diego County Health & Human Services Agency posts an updated list of coronavirus cases by ZIP code, including rates per 100,000 residents. Through Sept. 24, ZIP code 92037 (estimated population 43,400) had a total of 7,759 registered cases (up by 40 from the previous count) and 17,925 per 100,000. ZIP code is the code of residence, which may not be the location of exposure.

The county also posts a list by ZIP code of the number of residents who have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Through Sept. 28, 41,271 residents of the 92037 ZIP code had received at least one dose; 36,341 were considered fully vaccinated and 24,519 were fully vaccinated and had received a booster dose.

Police blotter

Further details were unavailable from San Diego police.

Sept. 1

Fraud: 1000 block Genter Street, midnight

Fraud: 7700 block Roseland Drive, midnight

Sept. 11

Commercial burglary: 6700 block Neptune Place, 8 a.m.

Sept. 18

Vehicle break-in/theft: 2600 block Torrey Pines Road, 5:30 p.m.

Sept. 21

Fraud: 7800 block Girard Avenue, 3:15 p.m.

Sept. 23

Commercial burglary: 600 block Pearl Street, 2:53 a.m.

Sept. 25

Felony vandalism: 7400 block La Jolla Boulevard, 4:34 a.m.

Felony vandalism: 2000 block Avila Court, 3 p.m.

Sept. 26

Felony vehicle theft: 5000 block La Jolla Boulevard, 5:35 p.m.

Vehicle break-in/theft: 2700 block St. Laurent Place, 9:30 p.m.

Sept. 28

Felony vehicle theft: 5000 block La Jolla Boulevard, 6:45 a.m.

Felony vehicle theft: 1900 block Spindrift Drive, 7:10 a.m.

Driving under the influence (alcohol): Draper Avenue at Sea Lane, 9:30 p.m.

Sept. 30

Throwing substance at vehicle on highway: 1200 block Inspiration Drive, 10:28 p.m.

Oct. 1

Felony vehicle theft: 7600 block High Avenue, 1 p.m.

Vehicle break-in/theft: 300 block Playa del Sur, 4 p.m.

Oct. 2

Driving under the influence (alcohol): 5300 block La Jolla Boulevard, 2:18 a.m.

Compiled by Ashley Mackin-Solomon from police and other local reports