The Detective: Vehicles stolen from a car dealership

A rundown of recent criminal activity in Los Angeles

Illustration of a car at a dealership


Here are some recent anomalies in Los Angeles Police Department data found by the Detective, our data-crawling robot, and aggregated by the robot’s human assistant, Catherine Orihuela. This period covers Feb. 8-Feb. 14, 2021. 


?  The neighborhood of Del Rey recorded 10 criminal incidents on Feb. 8. In a unique twist, all the reports in the Westside community involved vehicles. According to the Los Angeles Police Department, the day’s incidents included five car break-ins, four stolen cars and one stolen bike. The majority of the crimes occurred on residential streets, though other sites were a parking lot and a garage. In the reports involving break-ins, suspects unlocked, pried or used bodily force to gain entry to the vehicles. According to police, no arrests have been made in any of the incidents. 


?  Reports involving the word “machete” are always startling. On Feb. 13, police responded to calls about a suspect threatening to kill people with a machete at a tent encampment in Venice. According to the LAPD, the suspect was experiencing homelessness at the time. The victims—three men and one woman, all between the ages of 23-58—did not know the suspect. Further details about what led to the altercation were unavailable, although police did say that no arrest was made. 


?  An audacious crime took place in Sylmar on Feb. 11. According to police, a group of suspects cut a lock and “tunneled” their way into a car dealership. They disabled the telephone, swiped car keys and ultimately stole seven vehicles from the parking lot. Police have classified the incident as gang-related. The make and model of the cars taken was not revealed.


An 18-year-old man was the target of a robbery at a hotel in Downtown on Feb. 14. According to the LAPD, an unidentified suspect held the victim at gunpoint and threatened to kill him. The police report adds that the suspect restrained the man with plastic ties before ransacking a hotel room and fleeing the scene. The code for “Flexcuffs/Plastic ties” as the type of binding has been used 106 times since 2010 by the LAPD. This is the only reported robbery in the last decade involving a victim being restrained with plastic ties in a hotel room. 


How we did it: At Crosstown, we examine publicly available crime data from multiple Los Angeles County law enforcement agencies. We have a robot on the team called the Detective that scans the LAPD publicly available data for anomalies. LAPD officers tag most crime reports in their system with MO codes, for “modus operandi,” Latin for operating method or style. The MO codes are shorthand for describing what happened in a crime incident. 


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