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MBPD Detectives Solve Crime; Get Personal Thanks From Tommy Lasorda

May 24, 2020 08:10AM ● By Jeanne Fratello

Photo via Manhattan Beach Police Department

Manhattan Beach Police Department detectives are always proud to solve a case. But they don't always get a special thank you like they did last week - from Tommy Lasorda himself.

The MBPD detectives recently cracked a burglary case in which they successfully recovered stolen goods. The "goods" in this case included a jacket with a custom illustration of Tommy Lasorda that had great sentimental value to its owner.

The owner, a Manhattan Beach resident, was so grateful for the return of the jacket that he invited detectives over to his house, where he had a surprise waiting for them - Tommy Lasorda, the 92-year-old Dodgers legend himself.

Lasorda thanked the detectives, took pictures with them, and autographed a few baseballs, said Detective Sergeant Steve Kitsios of MBPD.

"It was just pretty awesome," said Kitsios. "In today’s day and age when almost all you hear about is COVID-19, and everyone’s kind of down and stressed out, this made my detectives feel extra special."

Kitsios said the encounter was a reminder that following up all all crimes is important, and that  something as simple as a jacket can mean the world to somebody. "That's why we always investigate every single lead to get somebody’s property back, because you never know what that could mean to them," he said.

Goods Stolen Back in February

Kitsios said that the burglary happened back in February, during what was a string of residential burglaries in Manhattan Beach.

The owner had made a special plea to detectives to help find the jacket, which had the most sentimental value among all of the items stolen.

MBPD detectives, led by Detective Jennifer Leach, tracked down a suspect in mid-March and were prepared to serve a search warrant. But then COVID-19 restrictions held police back from serving the warrant. (The suspect had passed away during that time from unrelated causes, so the police were not in immediate pursuit.) 

When the restrictions were lifted and police were able to carry out the search warrant last week, they were relieved to find the jacket, among other stolen goods.

Police alerted the owner that the jacket had been recovered, and "he was just beside himself; he was so happy," said Kitsios. "So we went to his house to give him back his stuff, and he said, 'I want to thank every one of the detectives who worked on this case. Come back at 5:00 p.m. today.'"

Kitsios continued, "So a few of us showed up. And lo and behold, there’s Tommy Lasorda in [the jacket owner's] living room. Tommy was so thankful, so grateful to the detectives for getting back the jacket [to its owner]."

Residents Encouraged to Be Vigilant

One of the keys to solving this case, said Kitsios, was having recordings from neighbors' Ring video cameras

Kitsios urged all residents to register their Ring cameras with the Manhattan Beach Police, as it can be an invaluable tool in both solving and deterring crime.

Right now it's more important than ever to be vigilant, he said. Residents should remember to lock doors and vehicles; and to use appropriate lighting outside of their houses.

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