Hi!Yesterday my car was broken into behind Menchie's on Ventura Blvd and Dixie Canyon in Sherman Oaks, Ca. The thieves stole my purse which I had idiotically left in the back seat while I ran in to grab frozen yogurt to go. (I had my wallet with me so they did not get any money, cards, or my I.D. ) I called the cops. They came out and basically made me feel guilty for calling them. When my boyfriend asked if anything would be done about it, one of the cops said "There is real stuff going on out there. There is child abuse going on. We are not going to be going and looking for the guy that took your property. It sucks. You lost some stuff. But it's not going to be a priority to us."
This sums up my experiences with the LAPD almost perfectly. I've had similar experiences and no help with hit and runs, one of which totaled my car and the suspects were at the scene, drunk, for over an hour on foot because their car wouldn't start, before getting away scot- free. They even came back once they realized no police were coming, and removed drugs from the glove compartment. The cops showed up over two hours after the incident (on benedict canyon) and I got to buy myself a new car on my dogwalker's budget. The guys who hit my car in their Mercedes called the car in as stolen and picked it up from the impound lot the next day.
I was mugged in Beachwood Canyon a few years ago, and they said I was lucky for some reason I forget. They were right. I wasn't hurt. The next person that got mugged by them got raped, though, and maybe if they'd done something about my mugging, they could have stopped them from raping the poor woman up the street from me.
The reason that I'm writing is because today me, my boyfriend and a friend of ours went back to Menchies. We talked to the owners and they gave us footage of the people who broke into my car because my car was sitting under the camera. (We mentioned this to the cops but they were uninterested in looking at any video footage because they said there was a chance it wouldn't do any good.) There is a license plate from one of the getaway vehicles (there were two) that is visible. Last night at a little past eleven, I received a call from a homeless man named Reggie who lives at the Shell Station on Riverside and Coldwater Canyon Blvd. He had found my purse and what was left in it by the dumpsters between Shell and Hugo's Restaurant. This was interesting to us because Hugo's has recently had a whole slough of auto theft, and had to hire a security guard. We go to Hugo's quite often. So, after we got the footage from the wonderful people who own Menchies (Marla and Diego) we went to Hugo's and the manager Charlie took one look at the footage and said "That's the same guy. I've even spoken to him. That's him. He's even wearing the same shorts and baseball hat." So we got the Hugo's footage of the guy breaking into several cars at Hugo's. (This is the same footage Hugo's gave to the cops in the past, but nothing was ever done about it.) He was also there last night looking through cars with a flashlight before getting chased off by the other manager of Hugo's, Hiiro. He hops back into the same car we have on the video footage from Menchie's and drives off, probably right to Menchies to break into my car, because it happened very soon after (around 8pm). We had also been told something very interesting by another Menchie's employee this morning. He witnessed a man getting caught breaking into another car on Addison and Coldwater Canyon. He was caught by the owner of the car. The owner knocked him around a bit and held him there until the cops came. The Menchie's employee said the description of a heavy set Hispanic male fit this fellow to a T. An ambulance took this suspect to the hospital because the man who caught him hurt his leg and banged him up a bit. At this point he is probably at the Van Nuys Police Station. We hope he hasn't been released yet.So we have all of this footage, and there is more that we intend to get...from the Shell station (the manager will be there Wednesday morning), and from Stir which is next door to Menchies and has a camera that would have picked up the second accomplice car that blocked the alley in case another car tried to pass while their main thief took the purse.Lastly we took this footage to the Van Nuys Police Station tonight a little after six. The detectives were not in, and none had been assigned to my case yet, but the female police officer at the front desk, who was very nice, told us to PLEASE come back in the morning because what we had could be really helpful. The detectives come in at 8am, and we will be there with our footage and our dreams of justice (sorry that is SOOOO CHEESY!!).
I am writing this to you because what we did today was not very hard, and we aren't carrying around badges to help us gain entry to the places we went. People were kind and helpful. Even the guy who got caught last night wasn't caught by the police. The car's owner did that job for them. But there are a lot of other people in this auto theft ring. We have at least two of them on tape, and there are so many more cameras that could contain pieces of this puzzle. I know this is just people's property, but the fact is that criminals think Sherman Oaks is an easy place to commit crimes because it is. The cops aren't worrying about this much, and the thieves know it. When Giuliani started cleaning up Times Square, he started with the smaller stuff, which led in a nice neat pathway to the larger crimes, and now there's a Disney store where there used to be a strip club.
I'm worried that the police will just sit on what we have put together here, and that's where it will end, and if they do that it makes me wonder why. If a cop doesn't want to catch a criminal, I cannot help but wonder why. Is it scary? Is it boring? Is it someone they know? Do people who steal things from cars not ever do anything worse?
I've been in Los Angeles for ten years. I'm fed up. I've never had any reason to thank a police officer for anything, ever, and I've asked for help many times. They've laughed at my naievete for thinking it was weird my friend's car got robbed a block down the street from the Wilcox police station in Hollywood, and told me how if I thought that was bad, one time a guy came into file a report and his car got stolen from in front while he wrote it. I know so many people who have had the same experience as I have with our law enforcement. There may be nothing to be done about it. I hope there is, though. I want to prevent anyone from ever feeling like I did when I saw my window crushed and my stuff gone. I always end up feeling guilty, like I'm the one who committed the crime, when the cops come. Do they hate us? Are we somehow a different species than they are and helping us is their cross to bear and it's awful and horrible and they'd rather be in Cabo San Lucas with a Corona? I don't want to go to Cabo San Lucas. I want to stay here in Sherman Oaks. I want to feel safe here, and I would like to feel respected, too.When I go to talk to the detectives in a few hours, I'm hoping so much that they will be interested, and I really just hope they'll be nice and not make us feel like we are losers for caring about a car and a bag full of little things that mean nothing. I hope they'll see the bigger picture and be in it for the long game. I hope they'll be smart and insightful and I hope they like to help people as much as I do. I love to help people. I want everyone to be happy. I just do. If you've actually read this, thank you so much!! Sincerely,Tess Hunt (actress, dogwalker)