Criminals targeted three businesses along Montana Ave. this weekend and the Santa Monica Police Department is actively searching for the suspects in the break-ins.
According to SMPD, Margo’s, Bardonna and Pinkberry were hit early Monday morning. Thieves successfully entered Margo’s after breaking one of the windows. In addition to the thousands of dollars in damage, they sole several thousand dollars in cash from the establishment.
SMPD said they only have a vague description of the suspects at this time as they are seen wearing ski masks and leaving in a dark colored sedan. However, Lt. Erika Aklufi said detectives are still gathering evidence.
“We’re still investigating it and there’s no-one in custody at this time,” she said. “We’re gathering video from the street.”
While the other two businesses were damaged, there are no reports of theft from those establishments. Aklufi said if the criminals damaged the windows but were unable to enter, those calls would be classified as vandalism rather than burglary but she stressed that officers are actively working the case and all information is preliminary at this time.
Santa Monica’s overall crime rates are still below pre-pandemic levels but there has been an increase in recent years from historic lows. Recently local crime has been driven largely by theft, vandalism and simple assault.
In the first quarter of this year, the most serious crimes, known as Part 1 (homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, grand theft auto and arson), increased by 14%. Part II offenses (simple assault, DUIs, fraud, vandalism, narcotics, etc.) increased by 19%. So far this year, notable changes include a decrease in incidents of aggravated assault, grand theft and arson; and an increase in larceny and burglary.
There were 1,212 Part 1 crimes in 2019. That dropped by 25 percent in 2020 due to pandemic era closures of public spaces. Serious crimes rebounded to 1,126 incidents in 2021 and then dropped to 1,028 last year before increasing this year to 1,177.