A teenage burglary gang that allegedly targeted Los Angeles celebrities with the help of one of the crew’s mom has been busted.
Police say the gang of three teens and one 34-year-old used social media to target the homes of L.A.’s rich and famous, including Rihanna and Christina Milian, and officers are said to have found more than $50,000 in cash when they searched their homes.
Other alleged victims included Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig and Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Robert Woods. Police say the suspects had figured out when their victims’ homes would be empty by studying tour schedules, sports-events listings, and Instagram posts,
Puig was playing a game at Dodger Stadium when his home was burglarized.
Woods’ home in Woodlands Hills was hit last week as he played a televised game at the L.A. Coliseum. The suspects were picked up shortly afterward when they were stopped on an unrelated violation in South Los Angeles and police found a firearm and stolen property belonging to Woods in the vehicle.
Cops then carried out searches at the suspects’ homes, where police said they found more than $50,000 in cash plus watches, phones, jewelry, designer purses and other luxury items belonging to their celebrity targets. Much of the loot was laid out for inspection during an LAPD press conference.
Police said the clueless crew apparently kept a list containing the names and addresses of more than a dozen athletes, musicians, and actors they planned to rob—including Viola Davis, Matt Damon, and LeBron James—and said they could be responsible for as many as 20 break-ins over recent months.
The suspects were identified at a police presser as Jshawne Lamon Daniels, 19; Tyress Lavon Williams, 19; Damaji Corey Hall, 18; and his 34-year old mother, Ashle Jennifer Hall, 34. They wore button-down shirts and drove smart cars through the neighborhoods they were casing to avoid arousing suspicion, cops said.
Capt. Lillian Carranza, of the LAPD Commercial Crimes Division, said during a press conference Tuesday that the crew picked their victims by studying tour and travel schedules and watching celebrities’ social-media accounts.
“The burglars believed no one would be home, and the homes would contain sought after valuables that they might be interested in,” she said.
She said the teens described their method of targeting homes as “flocking,” saying they “flock like birds to areas where the rich and famous resided.”
She said: “Once a potential target home was selected, a larger vehicle would be utilized to give the suspects the opportunity to change into more comfortable clothing and hoodies to avoid being recognized and cart away the stolen goods.”
Carranza said one person would knock on the front door to make sure the house was empty and the other two would break in through a window or door. The suspects would make their way to the master bedroom, where she said they would steal cash, watches, and firearms, she said.
The burglaries would typically be carried out so rapidly that the suspects would leave the homes before the alarm company could notify the homeowner, she said.
The 18-year-old’s 34-year-old mother was also arrested for grand theft in association with stolen property.
The gang could be responsible for millions of dollars in of property theft. In 2017, burglars broke into the homes of a dozen other celebrities, including the mansion of Alanis Morissette, where thieves made off with a safe containing $2 million in jewelry and other valuables.
In another incident, nearly $500,000 in valuables was stolen from the home of NBA guard Nick Young.