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Kidnapping Suspects Used Vacant Home as Hideout

Authorities tell real estate agents to ensure the properties they're selling are well secured.

Police are urging real estate agents to make sure unoccupied properties up for sale are well secured as an investigation reveals that a kidnapped 10-year-old girl was held captive at a vacant Northridge home.

The girl was snatched on March 27 and safely found near a Starbucks in Canoga Park later that day. An LAPD statement says the alleged abductors held the girl at at unsold home or a house that could have been in escrow in her neighborhood.

One of the suspects, 29-year-old Daniel Martinez, was arrested earlier this week and arraigned on Wednesday, while another suspect, 30-year-old Tobias Dustin Summers remains at large.

Police want real estate agents to ensure that all windows, doors, back houses, sheds, garages and basements are securely locked.

Charles Murray April 04, 2013 at 03:18 PM
It comes as no surprise to hear that a vacant house was used, as there are so many in the area. It's not hard to spot vacant houses, and with a quick internet search, the public can view the status of the property (i.e. "In Escrow", "Active listing", "Sold", etc). A friend of mine is a realtor in the Valley, who represents bank-owned properties for sale post-foreclosure. She has told me of many outrageous things that happened, including, as in this case, felons taking up in the homes for illicit purposes, and on one case, a fraudster pretended to own the house, and rented it to an innocent family who actually moved in and had the locks changed, before the seller (bank) discovered the unlawful rental of the property, despite that it had been advertised publicly for rent by the swindlers! The moral of the story is that anyone who knows of a vacant or abandoned house nearby, could make contact with the broker (or the banker if not yet listed with a broker), and establish an agreement for the neighbors to watch the house and the broker notify the neighbors in the event that someone will be in the house or has rented or has legal cause to be in the house. It is not reasonable to stick the police with this job of patrolling vacant houses, when they are already busy with immediate and active crimes. Let's do our part, and put a stop to this problem!
Mary A April 04, 2013 at 09:16 PM
Very good comments and suggestions Charles. And let face it, if they want to get into the property no amount of locks etc will stop them, but it at least makes their work harder to enter.
Jo April 04, 2013 at 10:58 PM
Excellent suggestion! Neighbors need to get more involved in their area. We had a squatter / hoarder who lived in the bank owned house for over a year. Finally a few weeks ago the bank got him out. If it had been noticed earlier we would not have had to put up with unkept yards and junk piled up. It was too far away for me to notice as it's in a cul de sac, but the next door neighbors certainly could have been more involved sooner. And, when your neighbor stops mowing or watering lawns, write a note to ask them if they need help...that has worked to get people to take care of their property in 4 different locations near me. It wrecks YOUR property value and your quality of life when this happens. Back in the good ole days people had more respect for their neighbors, but these days you must get involved and shame people into doing what's right. Write those nice notes and who knows, maybe the person really has run into financial or physical problems and you and other neighbors should pitch in to help. A bunch of us clean up the parkways every Thursday at 8 am. We've done this every week for 3 years. Next Thursday, April 11, we will be on west side of Wilbur at Kenya (no. of Chatsworth Street). Please join us.

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