Police reported on Thursday that a suspected pedophile was on the loose in a Porter Ranch neighborhood and five convicted felons were arrested recently in Chatsworth on drug-related charges.
Lt. Michael Pelt, the day watch commander of the Los Angeles Police Department Devonshire division, reported an ongoing investigation into a sexual assault case against a minor in a community spa area in the 11500 block of Trapani Way.
Pelt said the suspect remains at-large.
A young boy was fondled after being approached by a man who was with a child at 8:30 p.m., police said.
Pelt shared these recent crimes as he addressed a group of about 50 community members at a monthly crime-reporting meeting held in a community room at St. John Eudes Catholic Church in Chatsworth.
Pelt also said five individuals were arrested two weeks ago in Chatsworth in a drug-related incident and that all five had extensive criminal backgrounds.
The exact names of those arrested or the disposition of their case was not immediately available.
The arrest happened in the 10500 block of Variel Avenue.
Pelt said the suspects were trading stolen property for drugs.
He also said overall, crime was down in the 55-square-mile Devonshire division with 250,000-plus residents.
“Four of the top 10 Los Angeles Police Department divisions that have seen a reduction in property and violent crime are in the Devonshire area,” Pelt said.
Devonshire station patrols Chatsworth, Northridge and Porter Ranch. There are 21 divisions in the city.
Police officers shared that they cannot cover the entire division alone and stress that residents also act as their eyes and ears.
“Be vigilant. We can’t do it alone,” Pelt said, adding that in the past six months the department has made more arrests and prevented more crimes because of community input.
Home invasion robberies continue to be alarming.
Also the “knock-knock” criminal continues to menace neighborhoods by appearing at the front door as a “utility worker," distracting the person
who answers the door, while their cohorts rob the place blind in a matter of minutes.
“Sometimes people don’t realize anything was taken until days or weeks later and then the (crime scene is destroyed),” Pelt said.
Squatters in foreclosed homes are on the rise too.
LAPD Devonshire has begun a mapping plan of all the homes.
Druggies and tweekers are taking over these properties.
Sometimes a parent dies and the child moves in with druggie friends and causes chaos to neighbors. “Call us,” Pelt said.
It’s also better to park your car in your garage versus your driveway versus the street in terms of grand theft automobile cases.
“Harden the target. Make your stuff harder to steal,” Pelt said. “Criminals are crafty. We have to beat them at their own game.”
Pelt said identify theft continues to be a problem. He added that everyone should shred important documents and use credit cards instead of checks.
Pelt said that while Chatsworth and Porter Ranch areas are safe communities, but they are also affluent.
“Ninety-nine percent of the crimes are property crimes,” he said. “The arrest ratio is up better than 50 percent this year. There are a lot more people in jail through warrants and probable cause, and it’s causing an effect on our community.”
The next crime reporting meeting will be held on Thursday, August 23, 6:45 p.m., also at St. John Eudes Catholic Church in Chatsworth. Financial crimes expert Robert Rebhan will be speaking about identity theft.