Santa Monica News
LASD Return Stolen Items To Burglary Victims
By Ivetta Babadjanian
Feb 12, 2013 - 7:12:45 PM
SANTA MONICA—Los Angeles County Sheriff's Major Crimes Bureau detectives are returning the properties of 45 home burglary victims from Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties. The burglaries took place at homes where the occupants were on vacation and asked the Los Angeles Times to hold delivery of their newspapers while they were gone.
Detectives recover stolen items. Photo courtesy of LASD.
Investigators believed that the suspect, 51-year-old Duane Van Tuinen of Azusa, managed to obtain the vacation lists while working at the office's machine repairman and contracted by distributors of the LA Times. Van Tuinen gave the vacation list to a group of thieves which included 43-year-old Randall Whitmore of La Verne, 43-year-old Joshua Box of Arcadia and 52-year-old Edwin Valentine of Covina.
The investigation was a joint effort with the Glendora, Arcadia, Chino Hills, Monrovia and San Marino Police Departments. The victims include residents of Arcadia, Pasadena, Santa Monica, West Covina, Redlands, Ontario, San Gabriel Valley cities, Hacienda Heights, Diamond Bar, Walnut and Chino Hills.
Hundreds of stolen property valued over $100,000 were recovered from a West Covina storage locker that belonged to one of the suspects and are still being returned to their rightful owners. Many victims called the Sheriff's department in order to claim their belongings which allowed detectives to identify 20 additional people who may have been burglarized by the same suspects.
"Valuable items being returned to owners include a collection of Elvis Presley art as well as a numbered Thomas Kinkade print," said Sheriff's Major Crimes Bureau Lieutenant Kent Wegener in a statement. "Yet many people have also been able to recover personal possessions of great sentimental value. One granddaughter was grateful to find out her grandfather's irreplaceable WWI military deployment records had been recovered."
Reported victims will be contacted by detectives in coming weeks to attempt to identify the items that were stolen. Those who called the LA Times to put their papery delivery on hold while on vacation and have a police report that specifies the property that was stolen are urged to call the Sheriff's Major Crimes Bureau and leave a message at (562) 946-7893.
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