A Santa Monica Police Department squad car leaves the Public Safety Facility on Tuesday. (Daniel Archuleta daniela@www.smdp.com)

Two Los Angeles men were arrested Feb. 25 in connection with a home burglary following a brief search of an area near Wilshire Boulevard.

Police arrested Eddie Valencia and Adam Nelson thanks to an aware witness who saw the men enter a store on the 3200 block of Wilshire. Officers said the incident is an example of alert and prepared citizens aiding in their own protection.

The incident began when a homeowner received a notification from his automated home security system. The motion-activated system sent a text to the victim’s phone regarding activity inside the home. The victim was able to remotely activate home security cameras and see the suspects inside his home via his cell phone. The victim then called the police, who responded to Wilshire Boulevard between 17th and 19th streets.

“The suspects left prior to officers arriving,” said SMPD Det. H. Ahn. “Once officers arrived the victim had pointed out the direction the suspects fled, a perimeter was set up and during the set-up of the perimeter a loss prevention officer from a nearby store saw what was going on.”

Ahn said the employee realized two individuals inside the store might be connected to the police activity and made contact with officers, who quickly arrested the suspects.

Sgt. Rudy Camarena said the incident showed the value of a home security system and also how important citizens are in helping to fight crime.

“The victim had an all-remote security system,” he said. “They are so cheap, so inexpensive as a system to obtain nowadays, that was key. Along with that, was just being observant by the neighbors as well.”

He said citizens can take some basic precautions to help protect themselves from burglary, such as locking doors and windows.

According to Camarena, the department has seen several recent burglaries that were a direct result of unlocked windows. The suspects approach a home, knock on the door and, if no one answers, proceed to search for an entry point.

“More than not, they can find open access, an unlocked door or window that provides access without any barrier,” he said. “We always remind the public to lock doors and windows. If they have a motion detector outside, those are ideal as well.”

The police department provides home security tips on its website and officers said they have released a video regarding burglaries on their Facebook page.

Camarena said residents can always get more information by calling the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 458-8491 and if they see a crime in progress or want to report suspicious circumstances, call 911.

matt@www.smdp.com

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