Two downtown Los Angeles pawn shop owners who allegedly bought items stolen in "knock-knock" burglaries across the metropolitan area, including property snatched from Beverly Hills homes, were arrested Wednesday, police said.
Ismael Monje and Farshad Yaghoobi were booked on suspicion of receiving stolen property, Los Angeles police Cmdr. Jim Cansler said.
Investigators with a task force raided four pawn shops—in the 700 block of South Broadway and the 600 block of South Broadway—closed the businesses and seized their bank accounts, Cansler said. About 70 people have been arrested in the probe so far, Cansler said, adding that most were suspected burglars.
Wednesday's raid targeted shops that acted as a "fencing operation" for the burglars.
"They knew they could go to those locations," Cansler said.
The task force has been investigating burglaries in generally affluent neighborhoods, and authorities have returned stolen items valued at $150,000 to their rightful owners, Cansler said. The task force includes Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and Glendale police, as well as county sheriff's deputies and IRS agents, Cansler said.
Police say "knock-knock" burglars use a common method of operation: They knock on the front door of a residence and when there is no answer, two people enter the home and ransack it looking for jewelry, money and guns. A third suspect waits in a car as the getaway driver.