Christmas Grinch busted stealing packages

RANCHO PALOS VERDES - Detectives have arrested a man accused of stealing packages from the front porch of houses and re-gifting the contents to family members for Christmas.Michael Wieczorek, 42, was arrested Dec. 19 after allegedly stealing a package from a home on Redondela Drive in Rancho Palos Verdes. At the time, Wieczorek was allegedly in possession of drugs, credit cards and identification that did not belong to him. He was also holding a Kershaw-brand knife that had been reported stolen from Rancho Palos Verdes, investigators said. Detectives searched Wieczorek's home in San Pedro where they found "a plethora of instruments used to commit identify theft," including computers, credit card reading devices, counterfeit California driver's licenses, altered checks and fraudulent income tax forms. Investigators think Wieczorek was filing tax returns using victims' identities in order to steal their tax return. Stolen mail was also found in the home, with addresses from the cities of Lakewood, Rolling Hills Estates, Torrance, Palos Verdes Estates, San Pedro, Los Angeles, Carson, Long Beach, Redlands, Temecula, Auburn, Murrieta and Bellevue, Wash. "Especially disturbing was the numerous Christmas cards recovered among the stolen mail," said Sgt. Mark Moffett of the Lomita Sheriff's Station. Among the recovered stolen property were vacuum cleaners, jewelry, toys, an air-soft pellet rifle, blenders, clothing and cookware. Detectives also recovered a set of pajamas reported stolen with the Kershaw-branded knife in Rancho Palos Verdes. The pajamas, with a distinctive red snowflake pattern, was found wrapped under Wieczorek's Christmas tree. The tag read, "To: Mom, Love: Michael." Detectives recovered more allegedly stolen items underneath the tree. Wieczorek was released after posting $20,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear at Torrance Superior Court on Jan. 10.

********** Published: December 27, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 37