La Jolla crime and public safety news: Coast Walk burglaries; 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.

Coast Walk houses cased and burglarized

A recent casing incident and subsequent home burglaries along Coast Walk have some residents concerned that the South American crime ring that has targeted La Jolla for over a year may have moved into their area.

In mid-March, one resident saw someone on home security footage casing her house (watching with unlawful purpose) on Coast Walk while wearing a face mask and hooded sweatshirt. Around the same time, some neighbors reported that their houses were burglarized.

San Diego police Lt. Paul Phillips said he couldn’t say for sure whether the casing and burglaries were connected to the crime ring because “there are still others out there committing burglaries” who are not connected to the ring. Plus, the methods were not entirely the same, he said.

“The way they are organizing burglaries, the time and what they are wearing is how we are tying the [crime ring burglaries] together,” Phillips said. “That doesn’t mean there aren’t copycats.”

Though some arrests have been made in connection with burglaries believed linked to the crime ring, the suspects in most cases post bail and are released, after which they disappear and “someone else steps in to take their place,” Phillips said.

Police announced Jan. 21, 2022, that members of a South American crime ring had been burglarizing houses, many in La Jolla’s Muirlands area, during the previous six months. At the time, police said the burglars (usually three or four) were in their early 20s to mid-30s, wearing high-end clothing. They often would case a neighborhood to learn patterns and would drive high-end vehicles to blend in.

In some cases, they approached a house on foot from surrounding trails and canyons. In others, a driver would drop them off and wait down the street for their getaway. The thieves often cased in the afternoons and entered homes after dark when the residents were gone.

Regardless of whether the Coast Walk burglaries are connected to the crime ring, police “strongly encourage people to leave lights on when you leave the house [to make it look like someone is home], use camera footage and have cameras in the back,” Phillips said.

He also urged residents who see something suspicious to call the police non-emergency line, (619) 531-2000.

“Residents aren’t going to be criticized for calling in about something,” he said. “We encourage people to look out for each other and call it in. The worst thing that can happen is you bring a highly visible cop car to your street and if there is someone in the area, it would give us a reason to contact the person.”

Police blotter

March 6

Felony grand theft: 7400 block Herschel Avenue, 9:37 a.m.

March 17

Petty theft: 7100 block Fay Avenue, 12:10 p.m.

Petty theft: 8900 block Caminito Verano, 12:19 p.m.

Petty theft: 8800 block Villa La Jolla Drive, 4:40 p.m.

Vehicle break-in/theft: 2200 block Camino del Collado, 5 p.m.

Residential burglary: 7200 block Rue Michael, 8:52 p.m.

Residential burglary: 7200 block Rue de Roark, 9:12 p.m.

March 18

Vehicle break-in/theft: 8600 block Villa La Jolla Drive, 2:48 p.m.

Residential burglary: 7300 block Rue Michael, 5 p.m.

Felony vehicle theft: 5600 block Chelsea Avenue, 9:30 p.m.

Battery: 1900 block Parkview Terrace, 11:05 p.m.

March 19

Battery: 600 block Marine Street, 9:36 a.m.

Felony vehicle theft: 7100 block Olivetas Avenue, 10:30 p.m.

March 20

Commercial burglary: 8600 block Villa La Jolla Drive, 3:45 a.m.

Felony grand theft: 7700 block Whitefield Place, 9:15 a.m.

Felony grand theft: 8800 block Villa La Jolla Drive, 8 p.m.

March 21

Felony vandalism: 800 block Prospect Street, 7 a.m.

March 22

Petty theft: 8800 block Villa La Jolla Drive, 8:22 a.m.

Battery: 8200 block Camino del Oro, 8:43 p.m.

Felony vehicle theft: 8900 block Gilman Drive, 11:29 p.m.

March 23

Possession of controlled substance paraphernalia: 2500 block Hidden Valley Road, 4:45 p.m.

March 25

Vandalism: 6400 block La Jolla Boulevard, 8:19 p.m.

Driving under the influence (alcohol): La Jolla Parkway at La Jolla Scenic Drive South, 11:36 p.m.

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