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Two arrested for NBC thefts

Ben Godar

Two men who Burbank Police believe were responsible for about 25 car

burglaries near NBC Studios were arrested this week.

Manuel Elias Guzman, a 32-year-old Inglewood man, and Esteban

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Aguilar, a 29-year-old Los Angeles man, were arrested during a

Tuesday afternoon surveillance in which officers witnessed them

breaking into cars near the corner of Olive Avenue and California

Street, police said.

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During a subsequent search of Guzman’s apartment, police said they

found about $100,000 in stolen property, including about 30 laptop

computers.

“These guys were just grabbing everything,” Det. Rick Medlin said.

“They’d throw it in their car, and then they were gone.”

Police suspect the two men of a string of car burglaries dating to

October, including 12 since the beginning of the month, Medlin said.

Many of the items reported stolen months ago were allegedly found in

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Guzman’s apartment, some covered with a layer of dust.

The men allegedly targeted tourists at NBC and several other

popular locations across the county, taking cameras, electronics and

even clothing from the cars of out-of-towners.

A group of organized thieves based in Orange County has been

periodically burglarizing cars outside the studio for the past

several years, police said. While Medlin would not say Guzman and

Aguilar were connected to that group, he did say their methods were

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similar.

Though the string of thefts occurred off NBC property, Vice

President of Facilities Jack O’Neill said studio security has

cooperated with police whenever possible. He said studio officials

were relieved at news of the arrests.

“We’re very happy that what took place took place,” he said. “We

hope the message gets out to discourage this kind of activity.”

Officials also said while audience members cannot take pictures

inside the studios, those who bring cameras with them are not

required to take them back to their cars.

Officers plan to sort through past reports and try to reunite

victims with their stolen property.

With almost all of those burglarized being visitors to the area,

Medlin said that task wouldn’t be easy.

“The sad part of it is they came here with the expectation of

having an enjoyable vacation, only to be victimized,” he said.


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