SAN PEDRO (KTLA) — A San Pedro Grinch who stole thousands of dollars worth of property from victims across the Southland has been arrested, police said.
Lomita detectives identified 42-year-old Michael Wieczorek as a suspect wanted for stealing a package from a residence on Redondela Drive in Rancho Palos Verdes.
They made contact with Wieczorek, who was in possession of narcotics, credit cards and IDs that did not belong to him, an L.A. County Sheriff’s Department news release said.
Police searched his home and found “a plethora of instruments used to commit identity theft,” including credit card reading devices, fake driver’s licenses, altered checks and fraudulent income tax forms.
The evidence led detectives to believe that Wieczorek was filing tax returns using various victims’ identifies in order to steal their tax return.
Additionally, stolen mail was recovered from victims across Southern California, including Rolling Hills Estates, Torrance, Palos Verdes Estates, San Pedro, Carson, Long Beach and Lakewood.
Especially disturbing was the numerous Christmas cards recovered among the stolen mail, the news release said.
The stolen property recovered from the suspect’s home included vacuum cleaners, jewelry, toys, an air-soft pellet rifle, blenders, clothing and cookware.
One item of interest was a set of pajamas reported stolen from an address on Nancy Road in Rancho Palos Verdes.
Detectives found the pajamas underneath the suspect’s Christmas tree, wrapped in holiday paper to be gifted to the suspect’s mother.
Wierczorek was released from custody after posting $20,000 bail. He is scheduled to appear at Torrance Superior Court on January 10.
Anyone who believes they may have been a victim can claim their property at the Lomita Sheriff’s Station, located at 26123 Narbonne Avenue.
The stolen items will be on display from noon to 2 p.m. on Friday. Any questions can be directed to Lomita Station Detective Sergeant Mark Moffett or Detective David Peterson at (310) 539-1661.