LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Police say a brazen thief took thousands of dollars worth of property and stuck some of it underneath a Christmas tree to give out as presents.
A set of stolen pajamas was even found gifted to the man’s mother. Authorities said the tag read, “To: Mom, Love: Michael.”
Suspect Michael Wieczorek, 42, of San Pedro came to the attention of sheriff’s detectives from the Lomita station Wednesday while they investigated the theft of a package from a residence in Rancho Palos Verdes.
The homeowner said he saw the suspect take his property and gave officials Wieczorek’s description and license plate information.
Police tracked down the suspect and discovered he was in possession of drugs, credit cards and identification that didn’t belong to him.
After searching Wieczorek’s home, authorities found stolen vacuum cleaners, jewelry, toys, an air-soft pellet rifle, blenders, clothing, and cookware.
Some additional items were placed under a Christmas tree.
Police also allegedly collected loads of other people’s mail and Christmas cards from Rolling Hills Estates, Torrance, Palos Verdes Estates, San Pedro, Los Angeles, Carson, Long Beach, Lakewood, Redlands, Temecula, Auburn, Murrieta and Bellevue, Washington.
Officials said property was taken from people’s mailboxes, porches and purchased online through means of identity theft.
Authorities said items used to commit impersonation fraud, including credit card reading devices, counterfeit California driver’s licenses, altered checks, and fraudulent tax forms, were also uncovered in the suspect’s home.
“We’re not sure he has a heart at all,” said Lt. John Wolak of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. “This has been a very personal crime with items that were personal to people.”
Wierczorek, who was released from custody after posting $20,000 bond, is scheduled to appear in court Jan. 10.
Detectives named his girlfriend, Billie Sue Holloway, a person of interest.
People who believe they may have been theft victims can reclaim their property at the Lomita Sheriff’s Station.