A skilled burglary crew has targeted the homes of corporate titans, celebrities, and sports stars in some of L.A.’s wealthiest neighborhoods, making off with more than $7 million in cash, rare books and jewelry while leaving few clues, reports the Los Angeles Times. The two – possibly three – men, clad in black and wearing ski masks and gloves, have hit more than 70 homes. They evade security systems and surveillance cameras, taking advantage of the fact that many of the estates are walled off from street view and their owners often are out of town, Los Angeles Deputy Police Chief Kenneth Garner said. The team enters houses by using bricks to break through backyard sliding glass doors or climbing through second-floor windows.
Burglars hit the home of former Paramount Pictures chief Sherry Lansing and her Oscar-winning director husband, William Friedkin. They also stole $500,000 in cash and jewelry from the Bel-Air mansion of Clippers basketball star Cuttino Mobley. Duran Duran guitarist John Taylor and his wife, Juicy Couture president Gela Nash-Taylor, had a safe in their Hollywood Hills home taken in April, and the mansion of country music stars Tim McGraw and Faith Hill was hit in February while they were in Tennessee. “It is a target-rich environment in the hills, and these guys know it and know the homes and area,” said Los Angeles police detective Lt. Ray Lombardo. “I hate to call them it, but they’re professionals. They aren’t opportunists.”