La Jolla crime and public safety news: Business burglaries; ‘similar incidents’ to vehicle shooting; 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.

La Jolla clothing store and restaurant are burglarized a week apart

Two La Jolla businesses were victimized by brazen burglaries in recent weeks.

At the Second Act West resale clothing store at 7856 Girard Ave., thieves used a baby carrier and children to distract store employee Linda Gans and stash stolen items while getting away with jewelry and at least one high-end bag.

Gans told the La Jolla Light that the theft took place around 4:30 p.m. May 26. She said “four women came in with a baby carriage, an infant and a child maybe 4 or 5 years old.”

Gans said the women made their way to the back of the store while Gans was up front. During that time, one of the women tried to reach behind a counter where the store keeps its jewelry, according to store surveillance footage.

“Then one of them asked me about a jacket, and when my back was turned, they reached behind the counter and took a whole tray of diamond rings,” Gans said. Soon after, one of the thieves opened an unlocked office door and took a Chanel bag the store was holding on layaway.

“Then they just walked out,” Gans said. “I didn’t realize anything was amiss until the weekend, when we realized the jewelry tray and the bag were gone.” Then she looked at the surveillance footage.

“It could have been worse,” she said. “They could have gotten away with more or someone could have been hurt. No one was, but it bothers me so much that they exposed children to that.”

The store since has added locks to previously unlocked spaces, but Gans said she’s still frustrated. “It’s a sad commentary,” she said. “It’s hard not to take it personally. I’ve been working at Second Act West for 15 years. This is my second home. I love our customers and what we do.”

A little over a week later — and just two days after its grand-opening celebration — Beeside Balcony restaurant was burglarized when someone entered through a delivery door and ripped the cash register from its holdings.

Beeside Balcony, a Mediterranean restaurant led by one-time La Jolla Village Merchants Association member Christophe Cevasco, opened in April at 1025 Prospect St. and held a grand opening June 1.

Cevasco told the Light that the restaurant had been busy due to the grand opening but the cash register contained only a few hundred dollars. Nevertheless, he said, the thief — described as a well-dressed man believed to be in his early 20s — broke the outdoor lock box the restaurant has for deliveries around 5 a.m. June 3, went “straight for the cash register, ripped it out and darted out the back door.”

“He was in and out in 15 seconds. He knew exactly what he was looking for,” Cevasco said.

Cevasco filed a police report, but the damage was done. “We hosted brunch that morning, and the guests were mad because we were so backed up,” he said. “We didn’t have a working system and the whole thing was a hassle.

“[The burglary] feels violating and disrespectful. I put months of work into this place, and when someone breaks in, it’s super upsetting.”

Shooting at vehicle on Gilman Drive is followed by reports of ‘similar incidents’

Following a report of a car being hit by something apparently fired from a weapon while traveling on Gilman Drive in La Jolla, two reports of “similar incidents” have come forward, according to San Diego police.

Though details about those two incidents were not immediately available, police said they consider them to be “vandalism” in which a BB gun or pellet gun was used and do not believe they are related to the first case.

“There has been no evidence to support that a firearm has been used to shoot at moving vehicles,” said Community Relations Officer Jessica Thrift of the San Diego Police Department’s Northern Division, which includes La Jolla. “At this time, we do not believe this to be a series [or] related cases. Our Northern Division investigators are following up on the two recently reported incidents. We encourage the community to call the non-emergency line [(619) 531-2000] to report if they have been a victim of a similar incident.”

In May, the La Jolla Light reported that motorist Valentina Castilla was driving north on Gilman Drive late the night of May 21 just before Via Alicante when she “suddenly heard this really loud bang and could feel that something had hit my car.”

The rear left window was heavily damaged. On further inspection, she found a “perfectly round hole” in her back window and filed a police report. An officer told her the damage appeared to have been caused by a BB gun or low-powered rifle. She took to social media to encourage others with similar experiences to come forward.

Police blotter

Further details were unavailable from San Diego police.

May 20

Felony vehicle theft: 5500 block Waverly Avenue, 7:26 p.m.

May 22

Felony grand theft: 2500 block Torrey Pines Road, noon

May 26

Felony grand theft: 7500 block Herschel Avenue, 2:07 a.m.

May 28

Use/under the influence of a controlled substance: 800 block Coast Boulevard, 9 p.m.

May 29

Open container in public park: 1100 block Coast Boulevard, 5:50 a.m.

Felony assault with a deadly weapon (not a firearm): 6700 block Vista del Mar, 7:15 p.m.

May 31

Petty theft: 700 block Turquoise Street, 8:59 p.m.

June 2

Felony vehicle theft: 600 block Pearl Street, 11:30 a.m.

June 3

Commercial burglary: 1000 block Prospect Street, 5:54 a.m.

Drunk in public: 7900 block Girard Avenue, 8:39 p.m.

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