Eddie J. Monterroso

Eddie J. Monterroso pleaded no contest Friday to stealing three Lakers championship rings and hundreds of dollars of gift cards (El Segundo Police Department / January 31, 2014)

A security guard at the L.A. Lakers training center in El Segundo has been arrested on suspicion of stealing team memorabilia that vanished earlier this month, including two NBA championship rings.

Eddie J. Monterroso was arrested Tuesday by El Segundo police as he was leaving work at the training center on the 500 block of North Nash Street.

Detectives began looking into the missing championship rings and gift cards, valued at nearly $20,000, on Dec. 5. They later found the rings from the 2009 and 2010 seasons at Monterroso’s Inglewood home, authorities said in a news release Thursday.

[Updated at 4:41 p.m. PST, Dec. 12: The gift cards were for major retailers, such as Macy’s and Target, some valued at $100 each. Police have recovered only about $6,000 in the stolen gift cards.

Monterroso used the gift cards to purchase video games and game consoles, according to Lt. Jaime Bermudez, a spokesman for the El Segundo Police Department. Police believe Monterroso sold some of the gift cards.

“The gift cards were going to be used [by the Lakers] for donations, distributed to different organizations in the community for their Christmas parties and charities,” Bermudez said.

Monterroso does not have any prior convictions and worked at the training center for about a year before his arrest. Bermudez said Monterroso admitted to his role in the crime during questioning, and was “very apologetic.”

Bermudez said the championship rings were identical replacement rings in case any of the original rings were lost.]

Monterroso was charged Thursday by the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office with felony grand theft and burglary, according to the news release.

Anyone with more information is asked to call Det. Glenn Delmendo at 310-524-2277 or email gdelmendo@elsegundo.org.

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