La Jolla crime and public safety report: Aug. 13-19

Large number of WindanSea vehicle break-ins, diners robbed at La Jolla Shores’ restaurant

Diners robbed at La Jolla Shores restaurant

An unidentified couple stole money from two women’s purses while they were having dinner at Piatti Italian restaurant in La Jolla Shores July 30. A manager at the restaurant on Avenida de la Playa told La Jolla Light the suspects were a young Hispanic couple with heavy accents and medium builds, each about 5-foot, 5-inches tall. The man had short, cropped hair, she said.

“These guys were super brazen,” the manager said, noting that the couple stood at the bar for several minutes during a particularly busy period before walking through the restaurant to an empty table. “I noticed them, because it looked like they were going to sit down at a dirty table,” the manager said. “I asked if I could help them and they said, ‘Oh no, we’re looking for friends of ours.’ ”

Diners at another table witnessed the theft on the outside patio, interrupting the robbers as they went through the women’s purses, one slung over the back of a chair and the other set on the ground close to one of the victim’s seats. The robbers got only half the cash from the second victim’s purse.

The manager said the women were engrossed in conversation and didn’t notice they were being robbed.

“The (suspects) walked outside, walked around our tree,” she said. “Another table witnessed it and brought our attention to it almost immediately.” Employees ran after the suspects, “but by the time we hit the sidewalk they were already gone,” the manager said. “They had like an escape route planned out.”

The manager said police wouldn’t take a report because the victim did not witness the crime. “We were embarrassed and shocked and the first thing we did was reimburse (one of the victims) for everything,” she said. The other victim, who did not accept the restaurant’s offer to reimburse her theft, said general manager Tom Spano was gracious and “very upstanding” in responding to the incident.

“It was really shocking that in this inner courtyard of this very popular restaurant you still have to watch very carefully, because these thieves were obviously professionals,” the victim said. — Pat Sherman

Maserati thief faces sentencing

Marcus Lee Allen, 30, a San Diego man who plead guilty in June to stealing a Maserati from Maserati of San Diego on Girard Avenue was scheduled for sentencing Aug. 11 at the downtown courthouse. He faces a four-year split sentence between local prison and community supervision. Police said Allen entered the dealership on April 30, introduced himself to a staffer as “J.T.” and began checking out the autos for sale as if considering buying one.

After wandering through the showroom for a half-hour, Allen snatched an ignition key from a desk, went outside to where a white 2015 Maserati Ghibli was on display, got behind the wheel and drove off.

The Italian-made luxury sedan remained missing for two weeks, until officers spotted it parked in the 1900 block of Ninth Avenue in a neighborhood south of Balboa Park. They impounded the vehicle, which appeared undamaged, and returned it to the dealership, SDPD spokesman Matt Tortorella said. On May 18, detectives tracked down Allen in the 1300 block of Ninth Avenue and took him into custody. — City News Service

Police Blotter

Aug. 2-3

Residential burglary, 900 block Coast Boulevard, 12 a.m.

Motor vehicle theft, 8500 block La Jolla Shores Drive, 8 p.m.

Motor vehicle theft, 400 block Bonair Street, 5 p.m.

Aug. 4

Persons under the influence of a controlled substance, 6600 block Neptune Place, 1 a.m.

Grand theft, 7600 block Draper Avenue, 11:20 a.m. Theft of tennis bag with tennis equipment and an expensive watch inside. The victim set the bag down unattended for five minutes while at La Jolla Tennis Club. When he returned the bag was gone.

Vehicle break-in/theft, 8300 block Via Sonoma, 6 p.m.

Vehicle break-in/theft, 2800 block Iverness Drive, 10 p.m.

Aug. 5

Vehicle break-in/theft, 8200 block Prestwick Drive, 1 a.m.

Vehicle break-in/theft, 2300 block Paseo Dorado, 10 a.m.

Vandalism ($400 up), 5600 block Beaumont Avenue, 3 p.m.

Vehicle break-in/theft, 200 block Nautilus Street, 6 p.m.

Vehicle break-in/theft, 400 block Nautilus Street, 10 p.m.

Aug. 6

Vandalism ($400 up), 7400 block Girard Avenue, 4:14 a.m.

Vehicle break-in/theft, 600 block Bonair Street, 8 p.m.

Aug. 7-8

Vehicle break-in/theft, 300 block Nautilus Street, 1 a.m.

Street robbery (no weapon used), 7900 block La Jolla Shores Drive, 11:19 a.m. The victim said she was pushed to the ground and her cell phone stolen while she was walking along the foot path that connects Torrey Pines Road to La Jolla Shores Drive near the Hotel La Jolla. She described the perpetrator as white male in his 40s, dressed casually with brown wavy hair.

DUI, 1000 block Genter Street, 11:09 p.m.

Aug. 9

Grand theft, 7700 block Fay Avenue, 8:10 a.m. A victim’s road bike worth $4,000 was taken from the front of The Cottage restaurant, where it was locked to a bike rack.

Vehicle break-in/theft, 600 block Nautilus Street, 12 p.m.

Note on auto burglaries: San Diego Police community relations officer Larry Hesselgesser said police have no evidence at present linking the rash of vehicle thefts in the area round Nautilus Street in South La Jolla, although he said most of the incidents noted above occurred overnight. Items taken included wallets, iPads, sunglasses, cell phones and a computer.

Apple computer thefts: Hesselgesser also said police are seeing thefts of Apple computers in commercial businesses where the computer can be seen from the front window. New Apple computers are targeted because the screen and computer are all in one, making them easy for thieves to transport. Police ask business owners to keep these computers hidden from view and to take them with them when they close shop.