By Edwin Folven, 10/11/2012
A Hancock Park resident who took it upon herself to conduct an investigation into a suspicious man leaving a home in her neighborhood has been credited with the arrest of a suspect with a history of thefts and drug crimes.
On Oct. 2, around 5 p.m., a different resident returned home in the 100 block of S. Lucerne Boulevard and witnessed a man coming from her property carrying a television and some clothing. When confronted, the man ran off. The victim later realized her guest house had been burglarized and called police.
Officer Brent Hopkins, with the Los Angeles Police Department’s Wilshire Division, said the neighbor got a good look at the suspect as he was running away, and was surprised to see the same man a short time later on Larchmont Boulevard. The neighbor saw the suspect get into a taxi and leave the area, so she called the cab company and found out where the taxi dropped off the passenger. The neighbor then relayed that information to police, who followed up on the lead. Detectives conducted surveillance at an apartment building at 4029 Oakwood Ave., where the suspect had reportedly been dropped off, and on Oct. 4, saw a man fitting his description using a fire escape at the building. Authorities detained the suspect on warrants, and he later admitted to committing the burglary, Hopkins said.
“The real hero in this is the neighbor, who was heads up enough to know what was going on,” Hopkins said. “The information she provided helped us find this guy and make an arrest.”
The woman chose to remain anonymous. Kenneth Elkin, 26, has been charged with residential burglary and possession of heroin, and is being held without bail. Hopkins said Elkin also had two no-bail warrants for prior theft and drug possession arrests. He reportedly admitted to committing the burglary, and other thefts from retail stores, to get money for his heroin habit, Hopkins said.
The officer added that Elkin allegedly told police he had been looking for houses with unlocked doors in Hancock Park when he came across the guest house where the burglary occurred. Elkin allegedly told detectives that he went inside, slept for a few hours and then fled with some property.
“It looks to me like a crime of opportunity. He admitted that he usually steals from stores, and we haven’t had a rash of burglaries in the area,” Hopkins added. “It underscores the need to keep your house, and in this case your guest house, locked.”
Anyone who may also have been a victim of a similar burglary in the area is asked to contact burglary detectives with the Los Angeles Police Department’s Wilshire Division at (213)922-8252.