Tag Archives: Starlight Estates

Police Looking for Suspect in Starlight Estates Auto Theft

Los Angeles Police recovered a Chevrolet Pickup Truck that had been stolen from Vista Ridge in the Starlight Estates on the morning of June 30.

This man was sen walking in the area after being dropped off by a red vehicle just prior to the truck being stolen Photo provided by victim)

The resident awoke to find his car missing and after checking with a neighbor who had a camera, found that a man had been walking in the area at approximately 6 am, and checked the door of the neighbor’s Lexus to try and gain entry.

He then moved over to the victim’s home where he was able to steal the vehicle with a red car that he had been a passenger in when he arrived and was dropped off, then followed him out of the area.

Burbank police were called around 8 am for a report with the victim calling his car dealership who told them that they had a tracker on the vehicle and that it was currently parked in Los Angeles.

LAPD found the truck at noon in the 200 block of Alvarado in a parking structured and recovered the vehicle. They contacted the residents who went to pick it up and found the backseat of the truck already was loaded with stolen items and clothes. The only thing missing from the vehicle that belonged to the owner was the dashcam.  LAPD confiscated all the other items as evidence.

The victim supplied us with photos of the man who they believed stole the vehicle and a look at the belongings that were left in it at the time they picked it up.

These items were left in the truck after it was found a few hours later Photo supplied by victim)

This all comes at a time for Starlight Estate residents who have been overrun for the past few months at night of people coming out and hanging out in the area. Police have made numerous attempts to stop the swarms of people, who are mostly not Burbank residents, from stopping in the area with new restrictions voted on by the Burbank City Council. No word if this person had been seen up there on one of those nights and had been possibly casing the area for vehicles.

Sgt. Derek Green of the Burbank Police Department had nothing to add stating in an email, “We have no other details at this time.”

Starlight Estates Neighborhood Regulations Approved By City Council

New regulations for the Starlight Estates neighborhood were approved at Burbank’s most recent City Council meeting, which took place on Tuesday, June 23, 2020.

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

The meeting included introducing a pilot parking permit program in the neighborhood in order to curb the excessive loitering that has been plaguing locals severely in recent months. Although the estates don’t meet all standard criteria to warrant the permit, it was requested that the City Council take special consideration for the area due to the severity of the disruption experienced by locals. A recurring annual fund for a trash receptacle on Bel Aire Drive near Vista Ridge was also incorporated in the meeting agenda. Both measures were approved in a 5-0 vote. 

Under the new program, all non-resident street parking throughout the neighborhood will be prohibited from 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m., Monday through Sunday. Unless terminated or extended, according to the council’s determination, the parking permit will continue through the end of the year. Speed bumps have also been placed in the area to deter vehicles from driving too quickly. 

Public Works Director Ken Berkman presented the issue to the council, noting the “inappropriate and illicit behavior” which has increased police presence in the area and resulted in 150 citations since January 1 of this year. In addition, Berkman called on police data to reveal the Starlight Estates as the fourth highest area of calls for police service this year in Burbank at 225 calls, in comparison to other neighborhoods which average at 30-50 calls per year. 

The Burbank City Council revised this meeting agenda last-minute to include these proposals after an intruding group using fireworks started a brush fire at the estates on Thursday, June 18. The incident occurred after months of increasing tension between neighborhood members and groups of young adults who frequent the area and cause problems for residents by speeding loudly, leaving trash behind, and loitering from early evening through late-night hours.

Although the situation has improved in the neighborhood since the fire took place, resident and Burbank Unified School District Assistant Superintendent Debbie Kukta says she believes these measures, along with implementing neighborhood speed bumps, will continue to promote beneficial changes in the area moving forward. 

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

“Enforcement of the permit parking should deter the multitude of cars that park throughout our neighborhood on a regular basis now,” Kukta said. “The speed humps placed last week along Bel Aire [Drive] have already had an impact on the speed of cars traveling along that section of the street just before entering our neighborhood and have had a noticeable effect on their speeds once entering our neighborhood.  Even though it’s only been a couple of days, there’s been a clear decline in the number of cars driving through the neighborhood, speeding and gunning their engines.”

Kukta also feels that the approval from the Burbank City Council sets the tone for the expected quality of behavior for visitors of the Starlight Estates.

“These actions approved by the City Council clearly identify our neighborhood as a neighborhood where people live and have the expectation of safety and quiet,” Kukta said. “It’s not a destination for people to loiter for hours and disrupt the sanctity of the place where we live.”

Fellow resident Stephanie Brown expressed appreciation in the city’s response to recent events and has a positive outlook on how the changes will impact the Starlight Estates in the future.

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

“I’m very happy that the city has taken these measures,” Brown said. “I hope that they discourage the behavior we’ve been seeing. The police have been there every night to enforce so we hope that continues.” 

While remaining optimistic, the city will continue to communicate with Starlight Estates residents and monitor how the regulations are affecting the neighborhood throughout the rest of the year. As time goes on changes may or may not be made depending on the efficiency of the new measures.  

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

 “It is our belief that all of these actions will keep people from parking in the neighborhood in the evening, and reduce people rolling through the stop signs and congregating in the view area,” Assistant City Manager Judie Wilke said.  “Our plan at this point is to keep an eye on how things progress with the protections we have put in place and we will need to remain nimble.” 


Racing Cars, Loitering, Littering Leaves Starlight Estates Neighborhood Frustrated

Ongoing disturbances plaguing the Burbank Starlight Estates neighborhood have come to a head in recent months and erupted with the outbreak of a man-made fire on Thursday night.

Just after 8 pm an officer was patrolling the area and noticed a group circled around a bush that appeared to be on fire. The officer then called upon the Burbank Fire Department and used a fire extinguisher to maintain the fire, which is believed to have been caused by setting off fireworks,  until BFD personnel arrived.

“Several minors were detained and interviewed,” said Sergeant Derek Green, Public Information Officer of the Burbank Police Department. “Collectively as a group, the minors admitted to being responsible for lighting the firework[s]. A police report was taken and the incident is under further investigation.”

Green also stated that there have been “roughly 170 activities related to the Starlight Estates” just over the past month, including both calls for service and activities initiated by officers.

Although it’s commonplace to find visitors admiring the overlook of the city from the Starlight Hills, this incident comes after community members have noticed an escalation of disrespect from groups of teenagers and young adults who frequent the area, particularly over the past few months.

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

Rodney and Stephanie Brown are a married couple who have lived in Burbank for 20 years. They’ve resided at the Starlight Estates for the past eight years and initially felt attracted to the area due to its tranquil atmosphere, but there has been a gradual shift towards more disorder as intruders impose upon the neighborhood. 

“It’s a beautiful view,” Rodney said. “And [at first] people would come and walk up and take the view and then leave. And so that was pretty much the extent of it. But over time, it just became more and more and the crowd became younger kids just looking for a place to hang out.”

The groups that regularly spend their time at the estates usually cause a commotion racing their loud cars and littering throughout the streets and yards.

“Some of them are loud and then they race… And it makes a loud noise at night when you’re trying to sleep,” Rodney added. “…And what has really exasperated is the problem is with COVID,  these kids are just looking for a place to hang out because they can’t hang out in restaurants or whatever. So they’re bringing their food up there. They’re hanging out and then they’re leaving their trash.”

Burbank fire trucks line up in response to a brush fire started by fireworks at the Starlight Estates neighborhood. (Photo by Ross A Benson)

Stephanie Brown spoke on the brazen nature of the groups, who usually come by at 6:30pm and stay in the area until midnight or so.

“I saw someone [outside] one-time taking photos with no shirt on,” Stephanie said. “I know it sounds crazy, but I’ve seen discarded condoms. Marijuana container[s], drinking. It’s just it’s really disturbing. Very, very disturbing.”

Fellow resident Masis Khodaverdian has encountered these combative groups many times and mentioned just how severely their presence is affecting locals.

“[When confronted] they retaliate by throwing rocks and eggs on people’s doors and windows,” Khodaverdian said. “…Some of our neighbors are thinking about moving out.”

Another anonymous neighborhood member echoed the threatening personalities involved in the disturbances, stating that “some people become aggressive and threatening” when residents speak up against the intruders. 

When the fire broke out, Stephanie says she was made aware of the circumstances by her children, who were outside playing and noticed smoke.

“My kids were outside in the backyard playing basketball and looked out,” Stephanie said. “They came in and they said, “There’s a fire!” And we came out and you could see the smoke rising.”

A firefighter from the Burbank Fire Department puts out flames at the Burbank Starlight Estates. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Stephanie noted the fact that no one was harmed was a stroke of luck for residents and visitors alike.

“I don’t think it ever got out of control,” Stephanie explained. “But the fire trucks are there. I mean, obviously, it’s fire season [and] that could have been just devastating.”

Together with neighborhood members have approached the City of Burbank on the issue in the recent past. Starlight Estate resident and Assistant Superintendent of the Burbank Unified School District, Debbie Kukta, spoke on behalf of neighbors at a City Council meeting in January in hopes of finding solutions in collaboration with the council.

Kukta says the groups that frequent the area create an uneasy mood for neighbors, but the amount of officers monitoring the neighborhood has increased since addressing the city, which helped quickly resolve the fire on Thursday. 

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

“It happens daily,” Kukta said. “There are groups that are down there…They glare at you as you drive by. And I think there have been some interactions with neighbors…So when it gets to that point where the intimidation is like that, that’s scary. [But] there has been a huge increase in police presence,…the city’s been great.”

Although the matter was to be revisited by the city in July, Assistant City Manager Judie Wilke says the date has been changed so that the Burbank City Council will address it this Tuesday.

“Due to the fire last night, we have sped up our timeline and we will be going to Council on this Tuesday to get approval for the permit parking,” Wilke said. “… In the short term, we will be placing curfew signs in the neighborhood. As this issue may be a moving target, the City will work with the neighborhood to consider other longer-term strategies.”

Fireworks Causes Small Brush Fire Near Starlight Estates

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

Burbank Police were on scene and on patrol in the Starlight Estates after a nearby resident called complaining about a group gathering at Bel Aire Drive and Vista Ridge, upon the officer’s arrival he noticed grass burning near the side of the road and requested Burbank Fire to respond.

Burbank Fire dispatched 3 engine companies a rescue ambulance and Battalion Chief Tray White to the incident, Engine 16 located nearby were the first on the scene reporting a small area of grass burning heading downhill with no prevailing winds. The crew from Engine 16 was right next to a fire hydrant for a supply of water to help extinguish the fire. 

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

While firefighters were extinguishing the fire Burbank police had rounded up a dozen juveniles who were responsible for lighting an incendiary device such as fireworks in the area minutes prior.

Burbank police had to send additional units to assist in traffic control, while officers took the information from the juveniles and called their parents to come to the scene to retrieve their kids.

The fire dept knocked the grass fire and released the remainder of the equipment as police officers talked to the local residents about the incident and the ongoing problems occurring nightly in the area.