DATELINE: FANCY-SCHMANCY WEST HILLS
Four suspects were arrested last night in West Hills on suspicion of burglary — one of the first major breaks in the so-called Knock Knock Jokes burglaries, so named after a string of break-ins following a similar pattern that have been reported in the area.
|Mugshots of the four suspected knock-knock joke burglars arrested last night. Image: LAPD.|
Officials said the burglars, who usually work in bunches, tend to target single-family homes in affluent neighborhoods and then knock on the front door to determine whether anyone is home.
After knocking, and a resident answers “Who’s there?” the suspects will respond, “Banana,” to which the homeowner will attempt to ask “Banana who?” but is immediately interrupted by the suspects knocking again, forcing the resident to repeat “who’s there?” This pattern will continue a total of three times.
“The quick repetition completely throws the victim off his or her guard, generally confusing them — and making it easy for the criminals to exploit the situation,” says Capt. Reed Malloy of the LAPD.
Finally, just before the homeowner becomes suspicious, the bananas will split toward the back of the home and break in while a fourth accomplice, an innocent-looking citrus fruit, will take over and identify himself as “Orange You Glad I Didn’t Say Banana?” keeping the homeowner distracted at the front door while the other robbers quickly ransack the house.
|Surveillance camera footage of suspects from an earlier robbery attempt.|
Photo: Facebook / Crimebusteroos Club of West Hills & Woodland Hills
“We’re pleased with these arrests and are encouraged to have gotten these suspects off the street, but there are others thieves committing these same sort of crimes in the area,” says Malloy, who heads the San Fernando Valley Knock-Knock and Over 100 Other Funny Jokes for Kids Burglary Task Force. “We’re still on the lookout for a diminutive, elderly woman, possibly of Swiss ethnicity.
“So we are cautioning residents to not open the door to a little old lady who...