Mark McDermott

Food delivery mixup causes police call

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by Mark McDermott 

A quiet night in the Tree Section temporarily became the site of a helicopter manhunt and a police response involving five different agencies Friday. It turned out it was all because someone entered the wrong address on a food delivery app. 

The mixup began when a resident who wasn’t at home checked an alert from a Ring camera, home security surveillance systems which video when someone appears at a doorstep or rings a doorbell. According to Manhattan Beach Police Department reports, the resident immediately contacted police and reported five people were looking into his or her house. It looked like a potential burglary in progress. The call came in at 9:43 p.m. 

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MBPD swooped in and quickly detained three suspects. Believing two were still missing, they called in support from surrounding agencies, including the LA County Sheriff’s Department helicopter. 

The neighborhood around the incident, which occurred at Laurel and 29th, was suddenly buzzing.

“Helicopter circling low,” one resident wrote on NextDoor.

“Listening on a police scanner and seems to be like a break in,” wrote another.

“Where is the break in?” asked someone else. 

“Cops right in front of our street on Agnes, between 31st and 29th,” someone responded. 

“Was walking dogs when SUV cop car showed up and now helicopters circling at 29th and Laurel,” a resident posted. 

“Officer said someone is in a house that shouldn’t have been but they have them now,” another neighbor chimed in. “Looking to see if there is anyone else.” 

“There was a home invasion on Laurel,” a resident posted. “3 people arrested but they think there is a 4th.” 

It took about 80 minutes but MBPD, after talking to the three people detained, got to the bottom of what had just occurred. They were finally able to talk with the resident who’d ordered the food, and determined it was just a matter of a wrong address. Police immediately issued an alert on Nixle to let the neighborhood know what had occurred. 

Mark Lipps, the former head of the MB Chamber of Commerce who lives in the neighborhood, likened the affair to an episode of the television show Modern Family, with the moral of the tale being, “Dangers of being a food delivery guy.” 

“The cops ended up delivering the food to the right address,” Lipps said. “Probably cold. Lots of nervous delivery guys.” 

MBPD has been particularly vigilant in guarding against property crimes due to residents’ calls for increased protection. Part of the department’s strategy has been to get out the simple message to residents: “See something, say something.” So despite the confusion Friday night, the incident was in keeping with both residents and the department’s wishes. 

“Honestly we are glad residents are vigilant,” said MBPD Officer Kristie Columbo. “We definitely encourage people to call us, no matter what —  that this is what we get paid for, to go out and do full investigations…So we are happy the resident called us, because we’d rather be the ones doing the investigating. Thankfully this one turned out not to be a crime, but you never know. We’d rather get the call.”

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