Police say a man they caught fleeing a home with a suitcase full of jewelry is responsible for a string of recent burglaries in Newport Beach, 13 years after he served prison time for several other break-ins in the city.
Officers responded to a home burglar alarm in the 100 block of Ocean Vista about 9:30 p.m. Friday, Sgt. Mike McDermott said. They spotted a man carrying the satchel running out the back door and caught him after a short chase, McDermott said. Police identified him as Robert Peter Vordale, 47.
Nearby, officers found a 1996 Land Rover they believe Vordale stole during a previous burglary, McDermott said. Inside, they found credit cards and papers linking him to seven other burglaries in the city dating from June 1997, he said.
The burglar in those cases entered through open doors or windows and took jewelry, silverware, laptop computers and other small items. Police have yet to recover that property, however, and Vordale is being uncooperative, not even divulging where he lives, McDermott said.
He was booked into the Newport Beach City Jail, then transferred to Orange County Jail. His arraignment is scheduled for this morning at Municipal Court in Newport Beach.
Investigators said they do not think Vordale is connected to a string of 31 second-story burglaries in Newport Beach's toniest neighborhoods between September and February. The two suspects in those break-ins--who are still sought--took $500,000 in one weekend alone, after emptying safes on Balboa Peninsula.
McDermott said all of Vordale's burglaries were first-floor jobs. In 1985, Vordale was convicted of nine counts of burglarizing homes in Newport Beach, and he served time in prison, police said.
Anyone with information about Vordale is asked to call police at (800) 550-6273.