Uptick in Stolen Vehicles

Keys Found in All Eight Recovered Cars

By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief

Since the start of 2019, there have been 11 vehicles reported as stolen—and out of the cars that have since been recovered, each of the eight vehicles have had a key fob left in them, Senior Lead Officer Michael Moore shared at a recent Pacific Palisades Community Council meeting.

“We’re thinking … maybe there are spare keys that are in glove boxes that people don’t know about,” Moore said.

Moore recommended that Palisadians lock their car, put the main key they use into their house and go back to see if they can open the door.

“If you can, that means there’s a key in there somewhere,” he explained. “What the criminals are doing now is they’re going through streets at night, pulling on door handles.”

Moore said that if the car opens up, they get in to see if they can start the vehicle and drive off.

“If not, they move on the next car,” he said. 

One member of PPCC asked Moore that since the vehicles have largely been recovered, why are these cars being taken?

“We think that they’re either doing it as joyrides or they may be using it to commit other crimes, so they’re not moving around an area in their own vehicle,” Moore responded.

The cars, which have been taken from all neighborhoods of the Palisades except The Highlands, have been recovered “all over the place.”

Moore said that if a person actively sees people trying to enter vehicle after vehicle, to call the police so they could come and investigate what’s going on.

“Were any of those eight cars Fords from 2014 and up?” Area 8 Representative Reza Akef asked Moore.

Moore said that while he did not know the make and model of the vehicles off the top of his head, he reported that the cars were from 2010 and more recent.

“That theory that you have doesn’t work with Ford or Mercedes, because they don’t lock if the key fob is in the car,” Akef pointed out.

PPCC Treasurer Richard Cohen agreed with Akef, but suggested a theory that valet keys are being left in unlocked modern cars.

“If you have a valet key in the car, you can still look the car,” Cohen added. “If you don’t lock the car, which is my theory—that these cars are not getting locked—the key opens the door and they just push the start/stop button to see if it starts.”

Recent stolen vehicles have been reported in the 500 block of Chapala in The Huntington between February 15 at 7:30 p.m. and February 16 at 9:30 a.m., the 500 block of Latimer Road in Rustic Canyon at 1:44 a.m. on February 16 and near 17200 Sunset Boulevard between February 23 at 9 p.m. and February 24 at 10 a.m. 

“Check your cars, make sure there’s no keys in it,” Moore said. “Hopefully we can put an end to this.”