Burglary binge spurs police action

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Detectives hunt down suspects in 13 of 19 cases; ask for public’s help on continuing problem

By Carol A. Clark

Becky Cortesy was at work the morning burglars knocked on the door of her 47th Street home. They broke in and stole her extensive jewelry collection, which spanned 25 years, during that June 2 burglary.

“We lost our big screen TV but that doesn’t have any value … it’s the items with sentimental value that are priceless … no price can be put on my mother’s rings … it’s that kind of emotional damage that occurs that they could care less about,” Cortesy said.

Suspects Amanda Burns and her partner, Raymond Behringer are wanted by police in connection with multiple burglaries including Cortesy’s. A neighbor was home the day Burns and Behringer reportedly worked door to door on 47th Street. Burns left her business card with the neighbor, which had something to do with a bogus landscaping service.

“They knocked on our door and we weren’t home so they broke in through a back window,” Cortesy said. “We arrived home from work and the first thing I noticed was that the window screen was off the back window and laying against the wall. I looked in my jewelry cabinet and all my jewelry was almost gone — I was just devastated. They took keepsakes from my mother including a cameo ring I was going to give to my daughter for her 30th birthday this year.”

Cortesy is one of 19 local victims hit by burglars during the last three months. Chief Det. Oliver Morris and detectives Ron Binion, Paige Early and Brian Schamber from the Los Alamos Police Department’s Investigations Division have solved all but six of the nearly 20 reported burglary cases they’ve received since April.

“We’ve taken in 34 cases in the last three months ranging from burglaries to shoplifting to breaking and entering, graffiti, larceny, check fraud and forgery,” Morris said. “Nineteen of those cases were burglaries and we’ve arrested or have charges pending against suspects in 13 of those cases.”

The suspects are a mix of adults and youth, he said, adding that drugs are a factor in some of the burglaries.

Morris and his detectives have collected a large number of stolen items in the course of their investigations, including some minor pieces from Cortesy’s jewelry collection.

“The police have been wonderful and they were so responsive that evening,” Cortesy said.

Some of the property that detectives recovered has not been reported stolen.

“We end up with additional property or with people confessing to burglaries and we don’t have cases in which that property was reported missing,” Early said. “We’d like to ask anyone who has experienced a burglary to let us know because we may have their missing property.”

Schamber advises residents to be cautious with strangers knocking on their doors asking to do yard work or home repairs or asking for a person who does not reside in the home.

“They should call us immediately because this is a ploy that the burglars are using in case someone answers the door,” he said. “If no one answers — that’s when they burglarize the home.”

Schamber said the LAPD is urging residents to lock the doors on their homes and vehicles because many of the doors in recent burglaries were left unlocked.

The detectives said that they are working diligently to solve the remaining cases and would like to elicit the public’s assistance.

“We’d like to let the community know that even though we’ve solved many of the cases, we’re still experiencing a large number of daytime residential burglaries and we would appreciate their help,” Morris said. “We may be able to distribute a monetary reward to anyone who provides us with information that leads to the arrest and prosecution of a suspect. We’d like community members with information to call Crime Stoppers at 662-8282 — and they can remain anonymous.”