Four suspects were behind bars Tuesday in connection with recent burglaries at the homes of Los Angeles-area celebrities, including one at the home of Rams wide receiver Robert Woods, and investigators said they recovered a list of additional public figures — including Lebron James — targeted for possible additional break-ins.
The suspects were identified as Tyress Williams and JShawne Daniels, both 19; Damaji Hall, 18; and Hall’s mother, 34-year-old Ashle Hall, Capt. Lillian Carranza, commanding officer of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Commercial Crimes Division, said at a news conference at LAPD headquarters, where recovered jewelry, watches, hand bags and other recovered items were displayed.
The young men were arrested Friday after a traffic stop in South Los Angeles revealed a firearm and items believed to have been taken from burglarized homes, Carranza said. Ashle Hall was arrested Sunday after search warrants were served at two locations where cash, additional property and an SUV reported as stolen were recovered, Carranza said.
The suspects are believed to be part of a small ring of gang members and associates responsible for burglaries at the homes of Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig and singers Rihanna and Christina Milian, the captain said.
Police recovered items that had been taken from Woods’ home, along with items stolen during recent break-ins at the homes of Puig, Rihanna and Milian.
“During recent months, the Los Angeles Police Department has become aware of a series of residential burglaries targeting actors, producers, musicians and professional athletes living in the Los Angeles area,” Carranza said. “Initially, it was believed that these homes were being burglarized at random. However, detectives learned that this wasn’t the case. The victims’ homes had been selected based on social media postings and touring or travel schedules of the owners. The burglars believed no one would be home and that the home s would contain sought after valuables that they might be interested in.”
The burglaries followed a pattern called “flocking,” whereby suspects flock to celebrities’ neighborhoods, dressing in nice clothes and driving luxury vehicles to avoid suspicion as they search for targets. They would then change into casual clothing, including hoodies, and use a larger vehicle to haul away stolen items, Carranza said.
One suspect would typically knock or ring a doorbell to check if anyone was home before breaking into a residence, she said.
The crimes were typically completed in a matter of minutes, Carranza said.
Williams, Daniels and Damaji Hall were booked late Friday or early Saturday. Williams was being held in lieu of $700,000 bail, Daniels in lieu of $50,000 and Damaji Hall was being held without bail. Ashle Hall was booked Sunday morning and was being held in lieu of $250,000.
Woods’ home was ransacked and burglarized Thursday while he was playing against the Minnesota Vikings at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. A neighbor notified police.
In the Woods case, police said three burglars entered a home in the 23100 block of Mariano Street by breaking a glass door in the back of the home before taking property.
In the Rihanna case, officers responded to a home in the 7800 block of Hillside Avenue about 9:30 p.m. Oct. 25, according to the LAPD.
An alarm was sounding and lights were flashing at the home, but no one was inside at the time, police said.
Celebrities including Alanis Morissette, Nicki Minaj, Emmy Rossum, Jaime Pressly, David Spade, Derek Fisher and Byron Scott have all been victimized by burglaries or attempted burglaries in the Hollywood or Beverly Hills area over the last couple of years.
Police said they believe the four arrested suspects are responsible for other burglaries and they displayed recovered items in the hope that victims will recognize their property.
In addition to Los Angeles Lakers player Lebron James, other celebrities on the target list recovered by investigators included actors Viola Davis and Matt Damon, Carranza said, adding that the list of more than a dozen potential victims also included addresses.
Commercial Crimes Division Lt. Mel Vergara said there are likely other, unrelated burglary crews using similar methods.
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