Hundreds of Items Stolen from Vacationing LA Times Readers
Imagine going away on vacation only to return and find your home has been burglarized; to make matters worse, the common thread between the invasion in your home and others in the area was the contact you made to your newspaper telling them of your planned relaxing getaway.
That nightmare unfolded for residents subscribing to the Los Angeles Times in the southern California cities of Chino Hills, Diamond Bar, Walnut, and Hacienda Heights. Thieves stole hundreds of items from people away on holiday, including collectibles such as coins and swords, jewelry, and computers.
According to Lt. Kent A. Wegener of the Los Angeles County Sherriff’s Department, criminal charges are pending against three men who have been arrested and are being charged. One man, Duane Van Tuinen, 51, of Arcadia, is believed to be a contracted office machine repairman who works through distributors to repair machines at the Los Angeles Times to repair office machines.
“‘Once inside of the business, investigators believe that he repeatedly stole lists of newspaper subscribers who were on vacation and passed them on to the suspects who carried out the burglaries. Mr. Van Tuinen would share in the stolen property and ultimately sell it for profit,’” the lieutenant said. “‘The suspects would visit the addresses on the lists and steal valuables while the residents vacationed.’” (Thompson)
On January 31, investigators found a storage locker in West Covina with some of the stole property from more than two dozen residential burglaries. Additionally, they have found items in the suspects’ homes and cars, according to Lt. Wegener.
Investigators are working on researching the identifiable property and determining ownership, thusly ascertaining more victims of this crime.
Therefore, it seems even when you try to follow the protocol of going on vacation, (e.g. notify the newspaper, the post office, the neighbors), and potentially, you could be notifying your prospective intruder.
Residents who had placed themselves on the Los Angeles Times vacation list and were burglarized can contact Los Angeles Sheriff’s Detective Jack Jordan at 562.946.7893 (Thompson)
Thompson, Josh. “Police tie burglaries to LA Times.” Chino Champion Saturday-Friday, February 9-15, 2013, Front Page. Newspaper