What to Know
- The man is wanted in 43 burglaries since mid-July
- Most of the crimes occurred along Ventura Boulevard in the San Fernando Valley
- In many cases, the damage caused by the break-in cost more than the value of the stolen items
Security images released Wednesday show an elusive and prolific burglar dubbed The Ghost, who is being sought in more than 40 business heists in the west San Fernando Valley since July.
Multiple security cameras have captured the man wearing the same light-colored hooded sweatshirt, with a black half-mask covering the lower portion of his face. A camera inside Franklin's Hardware afforded a closer look when it was burglarized on October 4.
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"Until this week, we had no idea what The Ghost looked like, other than he was hooded and gloved," said Los Angeles police Lt. Paul Weber, commanding officer of the Topanga Detective Division.
Many of the businesses targeted have been along Ventura Boulevard or Topanga Canyon Boulevard, as far north as Sherman Way, as well as on other streets in Warner Center.
The furtive subject appears to hide from the lights of passing vehicles, according to investigators. He also seems like the patient type, having been known to hide for up to 30 minutes before smashing a window or door to enter a business.
One of the 43 crimes occurred Oct. 4 at Franklin's Hardware on Ventura Boulevard.
"Our store is an extension of our home," said Michael Kurzeka, co-owner of the store. "When you see some hooded guy rummaging through your place, it's frustrating and violating. That's why I want to help the police to catch him."
In the security camera video, the burglar appeared to make sure no one was around at the store as he broke in through the back of the building. He entered an office before going into the main part of the store and stealing a garbage disposal.
He's usually in and out in about 30 seconds, but this break-in took longer, police said. The man looked around for several minutes, left, then returned about 40 minutes later and found a cash box.
The break-in cost the store nearly $1,000 in repairs.
"Most often, the burglar's take is far less than the damage he causes," Weber said.
Anyone with information on the case was urged to call Detective Amber Kim at 818-756-5844, or Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS.