Prolific burglar gets 20 years

A Costa Mesa man described by police as “a high-level burglar” has accepted a plea agreement with the court that will send him to state prison for 20 years, according to Laguna Beach Police Lt. Jason Kravetz.

James Elwyn Fraser, 47, pleaded guilty to 27 felony counts ranging from burglary to auto theft Feb. 16.

He had been arrested in December 2007 by Laguna Beach police detectives who linked him to multiple home burglaries in South Orange County, including Laguna Beach.

At that time, police discovered a huge cache of stolen items in Fraser’s home and a storage unit, including two Harley Davidson motorcycles, plasma televisions, laptop computers, cameras and golf clubs.


In late 2007 an informant told detectives that Fraser was burglarizing homes in Laguna Beach. An electrician by trade, Fraser would burglarize the homes he worked in, or ones adjacent to them, Kravetz said.

The crimes took place in the evening or early morning hours. Sometimes the power was cut to the targeted homes and the suspect would wait until police officers arrived to check on the burglary alarm. Fraser also positioned lookouts at key positions so he could be alerted if police were on the way, Kravetz said.

Detectives began to follow Fraser and eventually stopped him with allegedly stolen items inside his vehicle after he was pulled over by an Irvine officer at the request of detectives. At the same time, a search warrant was executed at Fraser’s home in Costa Mesa. Inside, an estimated $110,000 worth of stolen property was allegedly recovered.

Facing 27 felony charges pending against him, Fraser decided to plead guilty, two years and two months after his 2007 arrest.