This story was updated at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 12.
Two men in military style fatigues and armed with handguns entered a Laguna Beach home late Monday and subdued the 71-year-old female occupant by pressing a gun to her head before ransacking the home and fleeing with loot, police said Tuesday.
Such an assault is a “unique crime in Laguna Beach,” said Capt. Jeff Calvert, noting that investigators believe the 11 p.m. incident in the 20000 block of Laguna Canyon Road to be an isolated incident not replicated recently in surrounding communities.
A similar home-invasion robbery last took place in town in 2014 when a couple asleep in their Acacia Drive home were bound, gagged and robbed. Those suspects are still at large, Calvert said, though racial differences rule them out as suspects in the current incident.
He said police are “surprised to see the level of sophistication” employed by the suspects who invaded the occupied home, though he declined to identify a point of entry. “The suspects were outfitted in full tactical gear,” Calvert said, from their fingertips to their toes.
An image police released of surveillance video taken from the woman’s bedroom shows one of the robbers wearing a close-fitting hooded mask, what looks like a body armor vest over military style BDU shirt and pants, and a holstered pistol. The most visible facial feature is a prominent nose, Calvert said.
The robbery suspects spent 30 minutes ransacking the house and told the victim they were seeking drugs and money. They made off with cash and weapons, though Calvert declined to provide specifics about what was taken.
The victim, who was bound in an unspecified way and was uninjured, was able to call police and provide a physical description of the bandits. Calvert expressed sympathy for the victim having to endure a crime he described as “heinous” and carried out by “predators.”
Investigators have not determined if the suspects targeted the victim.
Calvert urged residents to keep aware of their surroundings and consider use of surveillance equipment.
Investigators are hoping neighbors might provide additional information about the suspects, such as a vehicle description.
Police are seeking the public’s help in identifying the two suspects.