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LA JOLLA, Calif. — Dozens of high-end homes in North County San Diego, including La Jolla, have been burglarized by a group of thieves described by San Diego police as highly-organized.

“They are casing, they’re taking their time, they’re watching what people are doing and they’re trying to pick the most opportune moment to commit the crime,” said Scott Wahl, captain of the northern division for
the San Diego Police Department.

It’s believed at least 18 homes have been burglarized by the same group of three or four individuals in the last few months in La Jolla alone. Police say their tactics, too, are very specific and efficient, breaking in through an upstairs bedroom window to avoid alarms that typically are only on the perimeter of the home.

“We’re also seeing the use of scramblers, (a) common device you can purchase right from Amazon that is taking the WiFi system down in the house,” Wahl said.

Once inside, they are also very selective and quick, not taking anything big or heavy, according to authorities. Police say valuables are items they target, typically stored in a bedroom or closet.

“The suspects seem to be looking for high-end jewelry, cash,” Wahl said. “They’re not taking TVs off the wall. We’ve had cases where they have passed weapons that they’ve come across. They are focusing on very specific items: the gold, the diamonds, the jewelry.”

San Diego police have added more uniformed patrols, as well as plainclothes detectives to try and find the crooks while they may be casing a neighborhood. In the three weeks since SDPD started the campaign, they believe there haven’t been any more burglaries by this particular group, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t just moved to another area.

“We are working closely with law enforcement agencies throughout Southern California including the FBI. It’s important that we share information as these groups move around to commit their crimes.”

Homeowners are asked to report any suspicious behavior and think about upgrading their security system.