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News Release

Monday, October 30, 2006

Media Relations

Police Recover Stolen Merchandise

Los Angeles: Officers from Newton Area Station on Friday recovered a large cache of stolen property which they believe was taken unlawfully and sold to buy narcotics. The total value is estimated at over $60,000.

The investigation began last week when the Newton Area Senior Lead Community Office received a complaint regarding excessive traffic and noise near a house in the Avalon area of Los Angeles. Senior Lead Officers' investigation determined that a stolen property "fence" was likely operating at a residence at 347 West 47th Street.

Newton Area Burglary detectives placed the location under surveillance. When it became apparent that narcotics were possibly begin exchanged for stolen property, Narcotic Enforcement Detail joined in the investigation.

On Friday, October 27, 2006, narcotic and burglary detectives while conducting their surveillance witnessed three separate incidents of people transporting suspicious merchandise to the location. Subsequently the resident, Benjamin Gallaga, 63, was arrested for possession of stolen goods. It is suspected the merchandise would later be sold at local swap meets.

The items recovered were stolen from vehicles, garages, and other locations in the community. Recovered property included: jewelry, coin collections, computers stolen from local area schools and miscellaneous electronic items. Persons selling the stolen items were mostly transients attempting to raise money to buy drugs.

For information on the stolen property, contact Newton Area burglary detectives at 323-846-6579, Monday through Friday, between 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.