A Long Beach man was arrested late last week after being linked to over a dozen residential burglaries in Irvine between April and May, Irvine Police Department officials announced Monday afternoon.
Willy San, 25, was arrested without incident by IPD officers near his Long Beach home on Friday, July 15, an IPD release stated. Officials said he allegedly burglarized 14 residences and attempted to commit two other residential burglaries.
It was following the attempt of one of the residential burglaries that authorities were able to identify him.
Officials said that on May 13, San knocked on the front door of an Irvine woman’s home and asked for a male who did not live there once she opened the door. He then quickly left. The woman called the IPD, believing his behavior to be suspicious.
“Moments later, a homeowner who lived two houses down observed the same suspect jump over the side gate into her backyard,” officials stated. “The homeowner yelled at the suspect through a closed door, and he quickly jumped back over the fence to flee the scene.”
The homeowner was able to obtain the suspect’s license plate number before he drove away and give it to police, according to authorities.
With the information provided, police were able to determine the vehicle at the scene was a rental car registered to San as the renter.
“Through an extensive investigation, San was linked by detectives to 16 residential burglary incident in Irvine, primarily in the Woodbury area, in April and May of 2016,” officials stated.
Authorities have not been able to recover the stolen property, which was mostly high-end jewelry.
IPD officials encourage residents to report suspicious activity by calling 911 for emergencies and crimes in progress or 949.724.7000 for non-emergencies.
Authorities have provided residents with tips for “knock-knock” scams, which happens when someone walks through a neighborhood seeking unoccupied homes as potential burglary targets. They pose as salespeople selling solar panels, magazine subscriptions, cable TV service or public utility service, officials stated. Once they knock on the door multiple times and receive no answer they assume no one is home and may attempt to steal from the home. Authorities said if someone answers the door they may use a ruse to quickly leave such as ask for directions or ask if a fictitious person is home.
Here are a few knock-knock scam safety tips:
- If you see something or hear something out of the ordinary, call 911 as soon as possible.
- Always keep doors locked, even if you’re home. This includes putting secure locks on patio doors and windows, including on the second story. You can also consider placing a wooden or metal rod in the track of windows and sliding doors.
- Install a peep hole in exterior doors and always make sure you know who is at the door before you open it. Pretending you’re not home may give the impression that your residence is unoccupied, and therefore could make it a potential target. If someone knocks, consider using a loud voice to indicate through the locked door that you are home and busy.
- If you plan to be away, have a trusted friend or neighbor pick up mail, newspapers and packages. A large pile-up in front of your house may be an indicator to thieves that no one is home.
- Use good lighting outside and keep your exterior lights on throughout the night. You may also consider installing motion sensor lights around the perimeter of your home.
- Don’t hide spare keys outside.
When possible, please get a good description of the subject, direction of travel and any involved vehicles to provide to officers.
Above, left photo courtesy of Irvine Police Department.