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Eight indicted in burglarizing of vacationing L.A. Times subscribers

Crime, Law and JusticeCrimeTheftNewspapersJustice SystemPublic Transportation

A Los Angeles County grand jury has indicted eight people in connection with a home burglary ring that targeted Los Angeles Times subscribers who were on vacation.

The defendants are charged with multiple counts each of first-degree residential burglary, receiving stolen property and conspiracy. 

Prosecutors say the group stole an estimated $1 million in dozens of burglaries in Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties.

The 39-page indictment unsealed Friday by Los Angeles County Superior Judge Charlaine Olamedo names the defendants as Randal Joseph Whitmore, 44; Duane Vantuinen, 52; Joshua Ray Box, 44; Lorraine Marlene Vasquez, 41; Cory Mulligan, 22; Brian Thomas Duran, 42; Margaret Mary Susan High, 29; and Edwin Lynn Valentine, 53.

The investigation started last year after a traffic stop on June 24, 2012, during which, police say, they discovered stolen property inside a car driven by Whitmore. Authorities also found an L.A. Times "vacation hold" list that contained the names and addresses of subscribers and the dates they were scheduled to be out of town, authorities said. 

Detectives said one of the defendants obtained the lists of subscribers who had submitted "vacation holds" to a vendor that distributes newspapers for The Times. 

Authorities said the thieves would stake out the homes to make sure the owners were away before committing the crimes.

Los Angeles County sheriff's Sgt. Michael Maher of the Major Crimes Bureau told The Times that most of the break-ins occurred along the 210 Freeway in eastern L.A. County and western San Bernardino County.

During the first six months of the inquiry, investigators had recovered $100,000 worth of personal property, including artwork, golf clubs and guitars.

Nancy Sullivan, a Times spokeswoman, has said that the newspaper made changes in its delivery policies after the incident.

The investigation was led by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department in collaboration with other law enforcement agencies in Glendora, Monrovia, Burbank, Arcadia and the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department.


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