A San Pedro man is accused of stealing a package off a porch in Rancho Palos Verdes and of possessing stolen mail from communities including Los Angeles, Long Beach and Bellevue, Washington, Los Angeles County sheriff's officials said Thursday night.
The man allegedly had stolen property under his own Christmas tree, including a pair of snowflake-pattern pajamas gift-labeled for his mother. The Sheriff's Department touted the man's arrest under the headline "San Pedro Grinch Busted."
Michael Wieczorek, 42, of San Pedro, was arrested about 2 p.m. Wednesday Dec. 19 by Lomita Station deputies, according to inmate records. He was released on $20,000 bail early Thursday Dec. 20.
Detectives were led to Wieczorek earlier Wednesday when they investigated theft of a delivered package from the porch of a home in Rancho Palos Verdes, Sgt. Mark Moffett of the sheriff's Lomita Station said in a statement.
"Their investigation lead them to an identity theft ring and the recovery of numerous items of stolen property valued at thousands of dollars," Moffett said. "Detectives believe most of the recovered property was obtained by the suspects by stealing packages from front porches or purchasing them fraudulently by means of identity theft."
Detectives identified Wieczorek and accused him of stealing a package from a residence on Redondela Drive in Rancho Palos Verdes, Moffett said.
When they located Wieczorek he "was in possession of narcotics, credit cards and identification that did not belong to him" as well as a knife reported stolen from a residence on Nancy Road, Rancho Palos Verdes, Moffett said.
A search of Wieczorek's residence uncovered "a plethora of instruments used to commit identity theft, including computers, credit card reading devices, counterfeit California Driver’s licenses, altered checks and fraudulent income tax forms," Moffett said.
In addition, stolen mail was recovered from victims with addresses in Rolling Hills Estates, Torrance, Palos Verdes Estates, San Pedro, Los Angeles, Carson, Long Beach, Lakewood, Redlands, Temecula, Auburn, Murrieta and Bellevue, Washington, Moffett said.
There were numerous Christmas cards recovered in the stolen mail, Moffett said. Stolen property recovered at the suspect's home included vacuum cleaners, jewelry, toys, an air-soft pellet rifle, blenders, clothing and cookware.
There was also a set of pajamas with a red snowflake pattern reported stolen from an address in Rancho Palos Verdes, Moffett said.
"Detectives recovered the stolen pajamas from underneath the suspect's Christmas tree, wrapped in holiday wrapping and gifted to the suspect's mother," Moffettt said. The gift tag read "To: Mom, Love: Michael."
Detectives also found other stolen items under the suspect's Christmas tree, Moffett said.
Wierczorek is scheduled to appear at Torrance Superior Court on Jan. 10, 2013.
Detectives plan to display recovered stolen property from the alleged crimes noon to 2 p.m. Friday Dec. 21 at 26123 Narbonne Ave., Lomita. Victims and potential victims can try to reclaim their property in person or by calling Moffett or Detective David Peterson at (310) 539-1661.