UPDATE: JUNE 29, 2010
By MIKEY HIRANO CULROSS
Rafu Staff Writer
The suspect in a Monday afternoon theft at the Bunkado gift shop in Little Tokyo returned to the store Wednesday and became agitated, prompting local officials to issue a community alert about his activities.
A male in his early 20s, possibly Hispanic, was first recorded by security cameras when he entered the store at around 3 p.m. on June 14. Employees reported the store was busy with customers at the time, during which the suspect slipped into a back room and removed a substantial amount of cash from an employee’s purse.
Bunkado owner Irene Tsukada Simonian said the shop had recently upgraded their surveillance equipment and the images of the alleged thief clearly show his face. He appears to be between 5 foot 10 inches and 6 feet tall, with a husky build and shaved head. He was wearing a long, baggy t-shirt and cutoff khaki shorts.
Two days later, on June 16 and much to the surprise of the store’s staff, the suspect returned at approximately 4:40 p.m. Apparently unaware that his earlier crime had been detected, he asked employees about using the restroom and was later found in the same back room where the staff’s personal items were, but found it locked. When confronted by employees and told he had been photographed in the earlier incident, he reportedly became agitated, snatched the photo from behind the front counter and left the store.
In the second incident, the suspect may have had an accomplice, also possibly a Hispanic male around 20 years old with a shaved head and baggy gray t-shirt, who arrived on a bicycle.
This subject stayed after the first man departed, asking employees about purchasing a smoking pipe. He also reportedly became somewhat aggressive after not finding an item to his liking, and may have attempted to approach the area behind the front counter in the vicinity of the store’s cash register.
Brian Kito of the Little Tokyo Koban said that fliers bearing photos of the two suspects are being circulated in the area, where a number of recent, similar thefts are being investigated to determine if they are connected to this week’s crime. The alleged perpetrators are said to be bold, somewhat aggressive, and have made themselves familiar with off-limit areas of the Bunkado store.
Anyone with information about these incidents or suspects is urged to contact the Little Tokyo Koban at (213) 613-1911 or the Los Angeles Police Department.