Two thieves dubbed the “Duffel Bag Bandits” targeted a Sprint Nextel store in Panorama City today for the second time in five days, in what investigators labeled an “inside job.”
The men stole nearly $52,000 worth of iPhones and tablets from the business at 8500 Van Nuys Blvd. last Wednesday Nov. 21, but fled empty-handed this morning, said Los Angeles police Lt. Paul Vernon.
The men wore ski masks and dark clothing, and put stolen items into a duffel bag, Vernon said.
“It’s clear this was an inside job,” he said. “(One) burglar … has the alarm code and the keys to the safe.”
On Nov. 21, the men broke through the roof and used a rope to climbed down into the business, Vernon said. Security video from that crime was released by police.
This morning, two burglars — believed to be the same pair — again entered through the roof, and tried to steal items.
“However, this time, a security guard confronted the pair as they made their getaway,” Vernon said. “The two suspects escaped, but they left behind the duffel bag full of phones and tablets.”
Police believe one suspect had prior access to keys to the safe, and copied them, because the only two keys to the safe were accounted for, Vernon said.
“The suspects were familiar with the security systems too, which is also why they kept their faces covered,” Vernon said. “This was a well-planned operation with inside information.”
Anyone with more information on the case was urged to call detectives at 818- 838-9866, or Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS.