Man burglarizes El Pollo Loco, returns to order lunch, police say

A 28-year-old man was arrested this week after he returned to order food at an El Pollo Loco in Costa Mesa hours after he allegedly burglarized it, police said.

Daniel Lee Warn was recognized by El Pollo Loco workers, police say, because he apparently didn't think to change his clothes in between the burglary of the fast food restaurant in the 1900 block of Harbor Boulevard and his return later in the day.


The night before, a man used the drive-through window to enter the restaurant, where a security camera recorded him ransacking a register that was not stocked with cash, the Daily Pilot reported.

Costa Mesa police said the footage showed him wearing a green T-shirt and a hat emblazoned with a neon-pink face. When Warn stepped inside the restaurant at noon for lunch, police said, he was wearing the same outfit and was recognized by the manager.

El Pollo Loco was one of several businesses burglarized by Warn over a two-day period, according to police.

Three businesses in the 1900 and 2000 blocks of Newport Boulevard reported being burglarized Tuesday morning. In most cases, a window was smashed with a brick and cash was taken from registers, safes or lockboxes.

Officers arrested Warn on Wednesday on suspicion of multiple counts of commercial burglary.

He was being held in lieu of $20,000 bail at Orange County Jail as police investigate any possible ties to other local break-ins.

Court records show Warn was convicted of several burglaries in San Bernardino County starting in 2011.

He pleaded no contest to two burglary charges earlier this year and was sentenced to two years in prison last month. But Costa Mesa police say Warn was free on post-release community supervision, a program that puts nonviolent offenders under the control of local authorities instead of the state.

Jeremiah Dobruck writes for Times Community News.

Follow @jeremiahdobruck on Twitter or email