Burbank-based Coffee Cube had one of its signature red trailers stolen from the startup’s property last weekend, representatives say. The trailer, which Coffee Cube uses as a mobile coffee and pastry bar, was stolen from the business’ headquarters at 2121 Kenmere Ave. sometime between 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 5, and 11 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 6, according to Sgt. Derek Green, public information officer for the Burbank Police Department. The trailer was not attached to a vehicle at the time, though the hitch had been locked, according to Jhairo Echevarria, marketing director for Coffee Cube, which operates a store in Canoga Park and offers coffee services to offices.
After hearing from some residents who voiced frustration that the topic hadn’t been discussed, the Burbank City Council will review the possibility of fining people who don’t adhere to face covering requirements. Council members Emily Gabel-Luddy and Timothy Murphy led the push during the panel’s Tuesday meeting to return a report on the subject to the agenda. The matter is scheduled to be discussed when the council next meets on Sept. 15. The report, drafted by the Burbank Police Department, had been placed on the agenda before the council’s Aug. 11 meeting after Councilman Jess Talamantes requested it. But when the meeting began, Talamantes abruptly pulled the item, later saying he “didn’t feel it was the right time to discuss it.”
Last month, reports of crimes committed in Burbank dropped to the lowest levels since April, as some studies argue that the COVID-19 pandemic is driving down certain types of crimes throughout the nation. Overall, reports of so-called Part 1 offenses — a range of violent and property-related crimes — in July dropped about 15.8% from June, from 241 to 203, according to data recently published on the Burbank Police Department website. Last month’s total was also the lowest since April, which had 165 reports of Part 1 crimes. The short-term decrease in incidents, meanwhile, is echoed in a longer-term statistic. With a total of 1,545 reported crimes from January to July, this year is showing the lowest number of offenses since 2013, when 1,508 occurred within the same six-month period. Thefts, by far the most common type of crime occurring in Burbank, also fell 9%, from 143 cases in June to 130 in July.
Roughly a month after the Burbank City Council instituted permit-only parking in Starlight Estates after residents complained about speeding and loitering there, the situation seems to have improved. According to the Burbank Police Department, the number of citations in the area fell from 48 in June to 38 last month as of July 28 as the parking policy took hold. The total number of police activities in the area also declined. In June there were 191 activities, compared with 132 as of late July. Calls for service in Starlight Estates also dropped by more than 28% as of July 28. Sako Semizyan, who has lived in Starlight Estates for roughly 15 years, said there are “not as many [issues]. It did help a lot.”
Police came across the body of a man dead inside a vehicle located in a downtown parking structure at about 3 a.m. on Thursday, according to the Burbank Police Department. From the condition of the vehicle, it appeared that the man, who was in his 50s, was living in his car, said Sgt. Derek Green of the Burbank Police Department via email. A parking control officer found the vehicle in the parking structure at 133 E. Orange Grove Ave., located between the Islands and Kabuki restaurants. There were no signs of foul play, Green said. A dog that was also found in the vehicle was taken to the Burbank Animal Shelter. The man’s cause of death remains unknown, pending a determination by the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner.
Burbank officials announced Thursday that the city’s annual National Night Out, typically held on the first Tuesday in August, has been moved to October. Public health concerns amid the COVID-19 pandemic were cited as the reason for rescheduling the event. Each year, the Burbank police and fire departments join neighbors and community members for the event. National Night Out promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie and is aimed at making the city a safer, more caring place to live and work. The event is typically celebrated with social festivities, block parties, cookouts, community gatherings, kids’ activities, interactive safety demonstrations, exhibits by emergency service personnel, and more. However, as the community continues to deal with the pandemic, the police and fire departments decided to postpone National Night Out in the interest of public health and safety. In accordance with recommendations by the official National Night Out organization, this year’s National Night Out event has been rescheduled to Oct. 6, a date that also is subject to change. Although National Night Out has been postponed, the Burbank Police Department encourages community members to communicate with one another through social media channels and neighborhood watch groups. By remaining vigilant and observant in Burbank’s neighborhoods, community members can help keep one another safe, officials said.
Burbank police have identified two men who were shot and killed early Tuesday, but the reasons for the incident remain unclear.
After receiving a report of a shooting at about 1:25 a.m. Tuesday, officers responded to a residence in the 900 block of Cambridge Drive and found in the driveway a man who had at least one gunshot wound, according to a Burbank Police Department news release. The man, 34-year old Los Angeles resident Edward Lopez, was pronounced dead at the scene.
While trying to give aid to Lopez, officers heard yelling from inside the home about someone being shot, the department said. They entered the house and found 41-year-old Burbank resident Armen Sahakyan shot in his upstairs bedroom. He, too, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Sahakyan’s wife, whom police have not identified by name, was taken from the house to a hospital in critical condition with gunshot wounds. The couple’s three children, ages 7, 13 and 17, were also found in the house and taken to family members. Continue reading “Police Identify Two Who Died at Scene of Shooting”
An external audit of the Burbank Police Department commends many of the force’s policies and reforms, though it also suggests improvements to some of its administrative practices.
One of those suggestions, recommending that the department not allow officers to review body camera footage before being interviewed in use-of-force investigations, was already declined by the department — a point of concern to several residents who called during the Tuesday joint meeting of the City Council and Police Commission.
The Office of Independent Review Group analysis of incidents in 2018 praised the BPD’s reforms over the past several years, highlighting the department’s commitment to investigating whenever racial bias is alleged against its personnel, even if the allegation is not at the root of the complaint. Continue reading “Audit Praises BPD, But Disagrees on Body Cams”
The city’s Police Commission is gearing up for a series of monthly discussions about the Burbank Police Department’s policies, though some commissioners also emphasized caution in responding to residents’ calls for reform.
The commission largely used Tuesday’s meeting to develop ideas for discussion at future meetings. Many of the topics were brought up by residents who called in during the public comment period.
For instance, some residents who called the commission asked the group to review the way the BPD responds to situations involving a person with a mental illness, suggesting that sending mental health professionals would be a more appropriate response then sending an armed officer.
Some also wanted the BPD, which publishes its use-of-force policy and annual complaints statistics on its website, to list a breakdown of arrest records by race. Others pushed for funding to be diverted from the department to other city agencies.
“I have only ever had positive experiences with BPD and I am grateful for the work you do,” said Katie Ward in a public comment made to commissioners by phone. “I also understand, however, that I am afforded privilege by virtue of my white skin that not everyone is afforded, so I am mindful that my experience isn’t the only one to consider as a member of this community.”
The Police Commission, which advises the City Council, cannot make policy decisions on its own — a fact commissioners emphasized during their Tuesday meeting. Continue reading “Panel Gathering BPD-Related Topics for Discussion”