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Burglar uses different disguises in an attempt to break into Southern California business ‘over the course of several months’
- Richard Hartman’s sporting goods shop in LA’s Westwood neighborhood has seen repeated attempts at a break in for two months
- The man is seen on video wearing multiple costumes including a deputy’s uniform, a construction worker’s apparel, and a firefighter’s jacket
- Police have told the man they cannot do anything to protect the shop
The owner of a Los Angeles sporting goods store says someone has attempted to break into his business over the period of two months in different costumes.
Video shows a man trying to enter Richard Hartman’s tennis shop in Westwood in costumes such as a deputy’s uniform and a firefighter’s jacket.
Hartman called the incidents – of which there have been more than half a dozen – ‘very annoying’ and said the attempted burglar has also jammed screws in his lock.
‘He’s tried to break in at least seven times. I’ve replaced the locks at least five or six times. It’s very frustrating. It’s cost me over $1,000 in locksmith fees,’ the owner said.
Although police have not confirmed the attempted burglar in each video is the same man, Hartman told KTLA he is sure the chameleon is one person.
Costume change? A burglar in Los Angeles has tried to break into a local business over a series of two months, wearing various costumes during the attempts
‘Somebody’s been trying to break into my shop for probably the last two months,’ said Hartman.
The repeated attempts have occurred at the man’s tennis shop in the 1000 block of Gayley Avenue for nearly two months.
‘Knock it off,’ the owner said when asked if he had a message for the crook.
The most recent break-in happened just after 4pm on Sunday, July 23, video shows.
In one incident, the man donned a sheriff’s deputy uniform and could be seen attempting to enter the shop.
Weeks later, a man in a firefighter’s jacket was caught attempting the same.
Hartman says that in addition to trying to enter the store, the person has been shoving things in the door so the owner cannot get in.
‘They’ve been sticking screws in my door and breaking it, so I can’t get in the shop,’ he said of the man who is constantly wearing a mask.
The attempted break-ins have happened at the Westwood Sporting Goods store
‘He’s tried to break in at least seven times. I’ve replaced the locks at least five or six times. It’s very frustrating. It’s cost me over $1,000 in locksmith fees,’ owner Richard Hartman said
The burglar in yet another costume which included a black jacket and a hoodie
At one point, the crook did make it into the store.
The man immediately exited, however, after the store’s alarm went off.
In that incident, Hartman’s wife called 911 and the owner chased the man off into the rear alley behind the store.
‘I drove my van down the alley, jumped out of my car and said, “Hey!” and he looked at me and started running, so I started chasing him,’ Hartman said.
Officers told him to stop chasing the man because he could be armed.
Ultimately, the crook took off into a 2023 silver Lexus convertible.
Hartman says police have told in they can’t do anything other than increase patrol officers in the area.
The owner told KTLA he has since noticed police cars near the back of his store.
He wants the attempted burglar to know that he would be happy to give the person a racket if he just stops the attempts.
‘If he has a problem, come on in and let me know what the problem is. He wants a racket, let me know,’ Hartman said.
After one attempt, Hartman chased after the suspect who fled in a silver Lexus
‘If he has a problem, come on in and let me know what the problem is. He wants a racket, let me know,’ Hartman (pictured) said
Video of the incident shared by KTLA has outraged residents who called out the thief for going after the owner’s livelihood.
‘I feel bad for this business owner, seems like a decent guy just trying to make a living, dealing with garbage people,’ one person wrote.
No arrests have been made in the case and the matter remains under investigation.