Fears and concerns grow after two more burglaries at shops in Magnolia Park. Theresa Hanna’s gift shop, Bell Cottage, is at Magnolia Boulevard and Lima Street. Bell Cottage was burglarized a week ago, along with Vintage Boutique Antiques, 942 North Lima Street.
For the past 10 years, Delmy Hernandez has owned the little vintage shop around the corner from Bell Cottage. Hernandez lives nearby and heard a security alarm go off shortly after 2 a.m. Sunday morning, July 30.
The burglaries appear to be what are frequently called “smash and grab.” The thief entered both businesses through a shattered glass front door.
Vintage Boutique Antiques break-in
Hernandez says the burglar used a rock to break the glass door. When I visited her antique shop the day of the burglary, she pointed to a large rock on the floor as the culprit.
Hernandez’s cash register was stolen with about $100 inside. She is glad the burglar did not take any of her jewelry or gold items. Three years ago, a thief snatched jewelry and money, then disappeared from her shop. The total from that first crime, $3,000. Hernandez intends to beef up her security system by “adding more cameras.”
Bell Cottage break-in
Over at Bell Cottage, Hanna says the burglar got away with the cash drawer and about “$100 and gift cards.” Also, in the criminal’s dash out of the store, a display was knocked over. Hanna puts the loss at about $2,500 … if the price of boarding up the front door and eventually replacing the broken front glass are included. On the positive side, Hanna says,”Nobody (staff) was here. And it could have been worse.” Back in 2010, there was a burglary at the previous location for Bell Cottage in the 3800 block of West Magnolia Blvd. In that crime, the thieves came through the roof, stole a lot of expensive merchandise, and ransacked the store. Hanna estimates that cost at “$300,000”
Despite being preyed upon by criminals, neither shop owner plans on closing her business. Hernandez is a long time resident who has raised two children in this city and says “I love Burbank.” Hanna describes the Sunday burglary as “just a nuisance” and calls Magnolia Park “a wonderful area.”
$60,000 luxury handbag heist
These two burglaries occurred last month as did the $60,000 luxury handbag heist at LuxMary Handbags in the 3400 block of Magnolia Boulevard. The July 7 heist got some media coverage, including a Fox 11 news report, but no press release from the Burbank Police about the crime. BPD spokesman, Sergeant Derek Green, told Media City Groove: “Detectives are working several leads. We are not releasing any other information at this time since this is an active and ongoing investigation. ” For police not to release ANY official information on such a large burglary leaves the community struggling to determine what is fact and what is fiction.
Crime wave in Magnolia Park?
Rumors are flying about other recent burglaries and robberies in the area. Early last year, the area was shaken up by a series of burglaries and break-ins. It’s no wonder some business owners, many of them women, and some local residents, are anxious and fearful that they’re experiencing a new crime wave in Magnolia Park. (Disclosure: I’m a partner in a business in Magnolia Park.)
What is needed is for the BPD to step up and do some old fashioned community awareness. Not on social media, or at some large meeting, or staged event like “National Night Out.” Merchants need to be reassured that police have their backs. The best way to do this is for police to visit the businesses and shops in the targeted area. Maybe even drop by to see some of the nearby residents.
Frequently, Burbank Police Chief, Scott LaChasse, preaches to the community that “if you see something, say something.” Well, police officials need to do their part by “if you know something, say something.” In too many cases, silence breeds distrust and suspicion.