Kicking in a door, picking a lock or smashing a window are all old burglary standbys.
But tunneling through a wall? Not as popular.
In at least three separate instances this summer, burglars dug into the walls of local businesses, according to witnesses and the Los Alamitos Police Department.
Suspects hit a marketing research company, a jewelry store and a nail salon. In the salon incident, a suspect (or suspects) also tried to tunnel into a diner, but only made it partially through the wall.
A city police spokesman said there doesn’t appear to be any connection between the three incidents.
“I guess it’s possible,” said Capt. Bruce McAlpine. “We’re not really sure right now.”
The first of the three Los Alamitos incidents took place July 14 at 11021 Winners Circle, according to McAlpine.
Starting in the women’s restroom of the office complex, suspects tunneled into , and from there into an adjoining business called Applied Research, which does marketing research.
Although both offices were ransacked, the only loss reported was a computer monitor and computer processor from the insurance business.
Police responded to the scene after a burglary alarm went off at about 7:42 p.m.
A red Chevy Silverado truck was seen near the location, but it is unknown if it was connected with the crime.
According to McAlpine, the second tunneling attempt took place July 29 at at 10901 Los Alamitos Blvd.
The suspects dug through the drywall of a nearby vacant business and broke into the jewelry store. However, the alarm went off and the suspects left empty-handed.
McAlpine said they may have decided to dig through the wall to avoid tripping an alarm.
The most recent burglary attempt took place Aug. 24, when suspects broke into an empty business just west of at 4378 Katella Ave.
After breaking through the door, they tunneled into Essence Nails. According to business neighbor Amy Smith, who manages one door down from Essence, the thieves stole about $100.
They also tried to dig through the wall on the opposite side to get into , also on Katella, but didn’t make it through.
Attempts to contact the manager or owner of Essence were unsuccessful.
It's not the first time burglars have tried to steal from local businesses in that area, Smith said. Suspects broke into The Salon two months ago, shattering the front door and breaking into the register.
McAlpine said that although digging through a wall may sound odd—people generally associate that method with a bank heist—it’s “not uncommon,” especially if the only thing separating two businesses is drywall and the building’s frame.
No word on what tools were used in any of the incidents, but McAlpine said almost any strong tool would work on drywall: shovels, hammers and even a human fist.
According to McAlpine, police have no suspects in the cases and the investigation is ongoing.
McAlpine recommends businesses install motion sensitive alarms and good video surveillance systems to protect against this type of crime.
Anyone with information about these incidents is urged to call the Los Alamitos detective bureau at 562-431-2255, ext. 405.