A woman was awakened about 9 o'clock Monday morning by a sound at a side window of her home on Wakefield Avenue in Panorama City.
Home alone with her baby, she was frightened when she saw a man pacing in the front yard. She asked him through the window what he wanted, and he said he was looking for a man named "Omar."
She quickly dialed 9-1-1 to alert police. But at that point, two other men broke into the house through a back window, invaded her bedroom, pushing over a dresser, and demanded money.
She pleaded with the gunman not to hurt her because she has a baby in the house, but the suspect told her he knew she had money, and demanded she hand it over, threatening her with the gun.
The victim showed the robbers where some money from a recent court settlement was hidden, and then there was a knock on the door, and one of the robbers went to answer it, apparently thinking it was an associate outside.
Instead, the masked robber was surprised by an LAPD officer who had answered the 9-1-1 call. The patrol officers had already detained the man in the front yard . The officer knocked on the door to speak to the caller, and the officer was surprised when a masked man opened the door.
The robber slammed the door on the officer and ran. "We're lucky there wasn't a shooting right there, given this man was armed," Lt. Paul Vernon of Mission Division LAPD said. "The robber and his partner jumped out a back window, and the chase was on."
The patrol officer called for backup , and responding officers and the police helicopter tracked the two robbers through yards all the way to t Van Nuys Boulevard and Roscoe Boulevard, where both suspects gave up.
Detectives later found the would-be loot, thousands of dollars in cash, still in the victim's home, abandoned in the robbers' haste to get away. A search by a canine and his partner located the gun inside the victim's closet, apparently tossed there to keep from being caught with a gun.
Neither the victim nor her baby was injured.
Police believe there was some kind of inside information at work and that it was not a random robbery.
All three suspects were booked for armed robbery.