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News Release

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Media Relations

$150,000 in Loot Found in Watts Home - Viewing and Return to Businesses

Los Angeles:  Stolen merchandise with a retail value in excess of $150,000 has been recovered from a residence in Watts.  The goods were discovered by detectives conducting an investigation, following the attempted burglary of a Mervyn's in Westchester.

On Monday, November 21, 2005, a theft occurred at Mervyn's Department Store, located at 8739 South Sepulveda Boulevard, in Westchester. Two suspects, a man and a woman, entered the store and went to the luggage department.  Each took a new empty suitcase and went to the electronics section, where they placed numerous items inside.  The value of items taken was over $4,400.  The suspects then exited the store.  A loss prevention officer watched the activity on closed-circuit security cameras and directed another officer to the exit door.  The woman, Rebecca Chavez, 19, was detained, but the man escaped.  All property was recovered outside the store, including 12 digital cameras and 9 DVD players.

Los Angeles Police Department officers booked the woman for burglary.  A subsequent investigation by Pacific Area detectives found the name and address of the man, Enrique Garcia, 20, residing in the Watts area of Los Angeles.  He had an outstanding warrant and was on probation.

On November 23, 2005, detectives served a search warrant for a house in the 9200 block of Croesus Avenue.  The detectives discovered a stash of clothing and electronic equipment.  The clothing items still had the original store tags attached; some had security devices still connected.  Detectives estimated the value of items exceeded $150,000.  The homeowner, Jorge Torres, 33, was unable to produce any receipts and was arrested for receiving stolen property.

The clothing items were taken from a host of stores, including: Bebe, Express, Abercrombie and Fitch, Gap, Talbots, Ralph Lauren, Rampage, Armani, Costco, Gymboree, Victoria's Secret, Banana Republic and Restoration Hardware.  The merchandise was stored in every room of the house, including a side storage area, especially designed for the items, where the clothing was neatly sorted and placed on shelves.

The stolen property was seized and a sampling kept for court purposes.  The remainder of the property will be returned to the originating stores.  Representatives from the outlets have been invited to Pacific Police Station, Wednesday, November 30, 2005, to view the stolen items and reclaim the merchandise.

The investigation is ongoing.  Additional stolen property may still be outstanding.  Anyone with information is asked to call Pacific Area Detectives at 310-202-4506, during normal business hours. After hours and on weekends, please call the 24-hour toll-free number at 1-877-LAW-FULL (529-3855).