By now you’re probably well-aware of the recent spate of burglaries, robberies, and other thefts plaguing Southern California. If so, then you’ll probably be delighted to hear that one of the burglary crews operating in our communities has been caught.

Last month on February 29th, detectives working on the case apprehended four suspects as they were allegedly preparing to commit a burglary. Police approached the suspects’ vehicle at around 1:30 pm on the corner of Castellammare Drive and Sunset Blvd. in Pacific Palisades. Only three suspects were in the vehicle at the time and they were promptly arrested.

The fourth suspect, a 17-year-old male, fled the scene and changed clothes. Later, he was located and arrested by police.

When they searched the vehicle, police found burglary tools and other items police may be able to link to the suspects’ alleged crimes. The possession of burglary tools is made illegal by California Penal Code 466 PC and is described as possessing burglary tools with the intention of breaking into a dwelling, structure, automobile, or watercraft. Burglary tools includes normal things like hammers, screwdrivers, and crowbars, in addition to some more specialized tools like picklocks and slide hammers.

Generally speaking, being found near a structure with a screwdriver in your pocket or a hammer on your person doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be charged with possessing burglary tools. The type of tool matters a lot, as does your reason for possessing it. For example, crowbars, lockpicks, slim-jim, and lockpick guns are all tools used to gain access to something that’s closed or locked. They aren’t common items typically found on the public – unless that person is a locksmith or something similar. As long as you have a good reason to have the tools on you, it’s less likely you’d be charged with anything.

Possession of burglary tools is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.