by Timothy Rutt
You know when they tell you to cancel your newspaper subscription when you go on vacation? Well, that may not be such a good idea either.
The LA County Sheriff's Department Major Crimes Bureau recovered hundreds of pieces of stolen property from a storage locker in West Covina. Some of the property was traceable to the owners, and one commonality is that they were on vacation, and instructed the LA Times to hold delivery of the paper.
According to a press release:
Investigators believe that Duane Van Tuinen (51 of Azusa) obtained the vacation lists and passed them on to a group of thieves, including Randall Whitmore (43 of La Verne), Joshua Box (43 of Arcadia) and Edwin Valentine (52 of Covina). The suspects would visit the addresses on the lists and steal valuables while the residents vacationed. More than 25 burglaries from San Gabriel Valley Cities, Hacienda Heights, Diamond Bar, Walnut and Chino Hills have been confirmed as a part of the conspiracy.
Van Tuinen was an office machine repairman, contracted by distributors of the Los Angeles Times to repair office machines. Once inside of the businesses, Investigators believe that he repeatedly stole lists of Los Angeles Times newspaper subscribers who were on vacation. Van Tuinen passed them on to the suspects who carried out the burglaries. Van Tuinen would share in the stolen property and ultimately sell it for profit.
“Although much of the stolen property has been returned to the rightful owners, we are still trying to locate additional victims”, said Detective Jack Jordan of the Major Crimes Bureau.
Items recovered include collectible coins, musical instruments, collectible swords, computers and jewelry from the suspects’ homes, cars and the storage locker. Other police departments involved in the joint investigation included Glendora, Arcadia, Chino Hills, Monrovia and San Marino Police Departments
Charges are pending against the involved suspects. Investigators are attempting to locate as many victims as possible and to identify all of the burglaries committed by the suspects, by tracing the stolen property.
Persons who had placed themselves on the LA Times vacation list and were subsequently burglarized are encouraged to contact LASD Detective Jack Jordan at 562-946-7893. Be prepared to supply the police report number from the burglary and a description of the items stolen.