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LOCAL : Anaheim Sting Operation Recovers $1.4 Million in Goods; 105 Charged

<i> From Times staff and wire service reports</i>

A stolen property sting operation believed to be the largest ever in Orange County ended this morning with charges filed against 105 suspects and recovery of nearly $1.4 million in items that were allegedly sold to undercover Anaheim police officers.

Anaheim Police Chief Joseph Molloy announced at a news conference that about half of the suspected thieves had been arrested this morning by eight teams of officers in Orange, Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties. Anaheim Police Lt. William Wright said about half of the 105 suspects charged were already in jail on other charges.

The arrests--made in surprise visits to the suspects’ homes--culminated a 10-month investigation conducted by six officers of Anaheim’s Special Operations Division Crime Task Force Unit, who bought everything from stolen tractors to television sets and guns from the suspects. The undercover officers said they bought the property from the suspects out of a rented Anaheim apartment, where the 220 purchases were videotaped.

Molloy said the officers paid about $29,000 to suspects to recover the stolen items--or about 2 cents on the dollar. Police said officers were able to return 99% of the property.

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