Santa Monica police have arrested a suspect in the recent rash of smash-and-grab burglaries on Montana Avenue, and are continuing to investigate.
Writing in Surfsantamonica.com, Jason Islas reports that Ronald Perkins, 55, was arrested Thursday. "At this time (Perkins) has been arrested in connection with the burglaries,” SMPD Spokesperson Sergeant Jay Moroso told The Lookout. “That doesn't mean that he's the only one out there.”
In what merchants say is likely the biggest burglary spree on Montana Avenue in more than three decades, six stores were targeted between November 6 and 11. The stores had their windows smashed and their cash registers broken open. SMPD sources told NOMA that two similar burglaries occurred on Lincoln Boulevard and Main Street in the same time frame.
Islas noted that the rash of break-ins roused the concern of the North of Montana Association (NOMA), which interviewed area merchants and sent out email alerts urging neighbors to be vigilant.
Several merchants told NOMA they are concerned that criminals are targeting the neighborhood because Santa Monica Police Department staffing patterns are concentrating patrols in downtown areas and at the pier, away from Montana Avenue.
November 11, 2013
Dear NOMA members and friends,
We at NOMA have learned that there has been a rash of break-ins on Montana Ave. over the past week, and we'd like to alert everyone to be aware and vigilant of what is going on around you.
After talking with merchants, we have learned that there were five break-ins on Wednesday and Thursday of last week. In each of those cases, someone broke through a door or window, gained access to a store and made away with between $100 and $200 in cash. The stores hit last week were Number One Beauty, Andrew's Cheese, Palmetto, SemiPrecious and Citron.
Jack Tour, who has owned Number One Beauty for 28 years, said his store was robbed at about 1:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning. The other four stores were robbed between 2 and 4 a.m. on Thursday, November 7.
Then, Sunday night, another store was hit: Cheeky Chic, a pop-up store at 1624 Montana Avenue. After gaining entry by smashing the glass in the front door, someone stole designer leather goods with a retail value estimated at about $4,000.
Montana merchants are saying that this is the largest sweep of burglaries on stores along the avenue that anyone can remember over the past thirty years. Several said they are concerned that criminals are targeting the neighborhood because Santa Monica Police Department staffing patterns are concentrating patrols in downtown areas, away from Montana Avenue.
Scott McGee. the Santa Monica Police Department's neighborhood resource officer for our area, tells us there have also been at least one recent window smash burglary each on Wilshire and on Main Street. Officer McGee says officers are coming in outside of their normal working hours to work these cases. "It's important to us and just a matter of time" before the suspect or suspects are apprehended, he said.
We will provide additional details as we get them. Neighbors are advised to notify police promptly if they notice anything suspicious. Dial 911 in an emergency; otherwise, the Santa Monica Police Department's non-emergency number is: 310-458-8491.