Simi Valley police are searching for two men who robbed a woman at gunpoint and assaulted her in her home earlier this week.
Described as African American men around 6 feet tall in their late 20s to early 30s, one weighing about 200 pounds and the other heavyset, the perpetrators were armed with silver handguns, Simi Valley Police Sgt. Travis Coffey said. Both were described as wearing black hoodies, black pants and bandannas over their faces.
Around 10 p.m. Wednesday, the armed robbers broke into a Calusa Avenue home through an unlocked rear sliding door, stole an unknown amount of cash and pistol-whipped the 65-year-old resident, Coffey said.
The victim was home alone when the robbery occurred.
She sustained minor injuries, but it’s unclear if she went to the hospital for treatment.
“Detectives don’t believe this was a random home invasion but rather that this home was targeted for some reason,” Coffey said. “It appears that these guys were looking to confront the woman.”
The sergeant said it’s pretty rare in Simi Valley to have home invasions like this, especially late at night.
City Councilmember Mike Judge said he couldn’t remember the last time there was a situation like this.
“It’s been years since something like this happened, not including any gang activity, which is different,” Judge, a 27-year LAPD officer, told the Simi Valley Acorn Thursday. “But I want people to know we’re still very safe here in Simi.”
The council member posted comments on social media Thursday in an effort to calm residents, who he said were “spinning and freaking out” after police issued a statement about Wednesday’s armed robbery.
Burglaries are crimes of opportunity that generally happen when people aren’t home, whereas going into a residence when the person is home is a different story, Judge said.
“Home invasions like this are usually targeted, and it’s false that criminals just pick a home at random,” he said.
“And in my opinion, kicking in the door of a random house in Simi Valley is suicidal, especially with the number of law enforcement officers that live in the community. That’s just crazy to me.”
Knock-knock burglaries or hot prowls are different from Wednesday’s incident because thieves break into a home, take what they want and leave without confronting a homeowner. Coffey said their goal is generally to avoid confrontation.
“I remember taking burglary reports as an officer and seeing how scared people were that someone came into their home, invaded their privacy and stole from them; always wondering if (the burglars) might come back and if their home was safe,” he said.
“The kind of assault (like what happened Wednesday) brings a lot of terror because not only did someone—two people in this case—break into this woman’s home and burglarize it, they confronted and assaulted her,” the sergeant said. “Now she has physical injuries that are a reminder of that.”
Asked what to do in the event of a home invasion, Coffey said the traditional response is “to just go with it and give them what they want, especially if they’re armed and you’re at gunpoint.”
“Aside from that, always make sure your doors and windows are locked because it makes them work harder to get inside, which might give you a chance to escape or call police,” he said. “What we don’t want to see are people having shoot-outs with burglars.”
Wednesday’s armed robbery remains under investigation. Police are looking for surveillance video and other tips that could lead to the robbers’ whereabouts.
Anyone with information can call the department at (805) 583- 6950 or Detective Kyle Crocker at (805) 583-6974.