Local News

25 homes belonging to vacationing LA Times subscribers burglarized

Scores reported dead as Philippines typhoon triggers flash flood

(CNN) — People put their newspaper delivery on hold when they go on vacation to avoid a pile of papers on the driveway, advertising their absence to burglars.

But for dozens of Californians, that pre-emptive move backfired. Badly.

Armed with stolen lists of vacationing subscribers, a troupe of burglars ransacked at least 25 Los Angeles-area homes to the tune of $1 million over a period of three years, authorities said.

The team stole computers, jewelry, musical instruments and even collectible swords, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said.

The scheme started when 51-year-old Duane Van Tuinen, an office machine repairman, was contracted by distributors of the Los Angeles Times to repair equipment, officials said.

Once inside the businesses, investigators said, Van Tuinen repeatedly stole lists of Los Angeles Times subscribers who asked their newspaper delivery be put on hold while they went on vacation.

Van Tuinen passed the lists on to three others who carried out the burglaries, the sheriff’s department said.

Three other men — Randall Whitmore, 43; Joshua Box, 43; and Edwin Valentine, 52 — are suspected in the burglary ring. Charges were pending as investigators tried to locate as many victims and identify as many of the burglaries as possible, officials said.

Detectives recovered hundreds of pieces of stolen property from dozens of residential burglaries. According to the Times, the burglars allegedly stole $1 million worth of property.

“Although much of the stolen property has been returned to the rightful owners, we are still trying to locate additional victims,” Detective Jack Jordan of the Major Crimes Bureau said.

The Times said it has launched an internal review and has cooperated with the sheriff’s department.

“Our customers can rest assured that no financial information was involved and that these robberies, while terribly unfortunate, are likely limited to a small section of the vast area we cover,” Director of Communications Hillary Manning said in a statement.

But going forward, the newspaper said it will no longer share vacation information with distributors.

VIEW & ADD COMMENTS

2 Comments to “25 homes belonging to vacationing LA Times subscribers burglarized”

    steve said:
    January 31, 2013 at 9:58 AM

    Can anyone say Inside job? They stole $1 million over 3 years. That's not chump change.
    Glad they were caught. Steve
    Bail San Diego

    jlee said:
    January 31, 2013 at 3:23 PM

    FBI and DEA use no-knock warrants to enter suspect's homes while they are away and steal items.

    They mostly steal watches, jewelry and less frequently expensive prescription drugs by returning a second time and swapping them with fakes.

    Some of them where stealing wear item parts off of cars, swapping them with old worn out parts from their personal autos and in some cases leaving the auto in a dangerous state.

    They also loosened a gas fitting to my furnace which filled my garage with gas fumes because I called the San Francisco Attorney General's office to complain that corrupt FBI and DEA where fabricating evidence and stealing from me.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Advertisement

Advertisement