Irvine Police Department Press Release

1 Civic Center Plaza
Irvine, CA 92606



Press Release #:
Farrah Emami

Man Arrested for Irvine Residential Burglary Series

Irvine, CA – The Irvine Police Department (IPD) has arrested a man for a series of residential burglaries. Willy San, 25, of Long Beach, was taken into custody for 14 residential burglaries and two attempted residential burglaries.

On May 13, 2016, an Irvine woman received a knock on her front door from an unknown man. When she opened the door, the suspect asked for a male who did not live at the residence and then quickly left. The woman believed the behavior to be suspicious and called IPD.

Moments later, a homeowner who lived two houses down observed the same suspect jump over the side gate into her backyard. The homeowner yelled at the suspect through a closed door, and he quickly jumped back over the fence to flee the scene. The homeowner obtained the suspect’s license plate number before he drove away and provided it to IPD.

IPD determined the vehicle observed at the scene was a rental car and identified San as the registered renter. Through an extensive investigation, San was linked by detectives to 16 residential burglary incidents in Irvine, primarily in the Woodbury area, in April and May of 2016.

On July 15, 2016, San was arrested without incident by IPD near his Long Beach home.  The stolen property, predominantly high-end jewelry, has not been recovered.

IPD would like to thank the two observant residents who provided crucial information leading to the identification of San.

Irvine residents are encouraged to report any suspicious activity by calling 911 for emergencies and crimes-in-progress, or 949-724-7000 for non-emergencies.

Just as the homeowner in this cases demonstrated, one scam of which to be aware and alert law enforcement is known as a “knock-knock” scam.

A knock-knock scam typically occurs when someone walks through a neighborhood seeking unoccupied homes as potential burglary targets. The subject may pose as a solicitor pretending to sell items such as solar panels, magazine subscriptions, cable television service, public utility service, produce, etc. Once they knock on the door multiple times and receive no answer, the subject(s) assume nobody is home and may attempt to steal from the residence. If someone answers the door, they may use a ruse to quickly get away such as ask for directions or ask if a fictitious person is home.

Here are a few knock-knock scam safety tips:

  • If you see something or hear something out of the ordinary, call 911 as soon as possible.
  • Always keep doors locked, even if you’re home. This includes putting secure locks on patio doors and windows, including on the second story. You can also consider placing a wooden or metal rod in the track of windows and sliding doors.
  • Install a peep hole in exterior doors and always make sure you know who is at the door before you open it. Pretending you’re not home may give the impression that your residence is unoccupied, and therefore could make it a potential target. If someone knocks, consider using a loud voice to indicate through the locked door that you are home and busy.
  • If you plan to be away, have a trusted friend or neighbor pick up mail, newspapers and packages. A large pile-up in front of your house may be an indicator to thieves that no one is home.
  • Use good lighting outside and keep your exterior lights on throughout the night. You may also consider installing motion sensor lights around the perimeter of your home.
  • Don’t hide spare keys outside.

When possible, please get a good description of the subject, direction of travel and any involved vehicles to provide to officers.