telling minor stories to avoid a major one


Read This: “To Catch a Thief” by Barbecue Bros
July 22, 2010, 1:20 pm
Filed under: Read This | Tags: , , ,


The amazing story of “California’s greatest cat burglar” who got away with nearly 1,000 break-ins in the San Fernando Valley and a $40 million haul before he was finally caught. Not nearly as long or in-depth as “Art of the Steal,”  a previously posted theft-related article, but pretty intriguing nonetheless. From the May issue of Details:

High above the Encino Reservoir, streets curl like ribbons atop the Santa Monica Mountains. Evergreens shield the well-tended lawns from prying eyes. On a sleepy afternoon in February 2006, a white pickup rolls to a stop near the peach-colored house where a prosperous electronics importer lives with his wife and their son. The truck is an ordinary 1992 Dodge. There’s nothing unusual about the driver who exits the vehicle and moves toward the family’s home. He is clean-cut and darkly handsome, with intense eyes and the physique of a middleweight boxer. He wears running shoes, board shorts, and a sun visor. He could be a contractor, a gardener, or a houseguest. He could pass for a man in his twenties or thirties. He could be just about anyone, and that is precisely the impression he wants to leave.

Other cat burglars may operate at this elevation, but none can approach this man’s level of expertise. One month earlier, the “Hillside Burglars” began a three-year run that will expand to include a reported 150 jobs around Bel Air and Beverly Hills, and the teenage “Bling Ring” will gain notoriety three years later for stealing some $3 million in property from celebrities like Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan. Those thieves are rank amateurs compared to this guy. In 16 months, he has broken into more than a thousand homes up and down the San Fernando Valley. According to the police, his haul is worth anywhere from $16 million to $40 million. And yet because he has cultivated so many aliases, law-enforcement officials have been hard-pressed to learn his real name—Ignacio Peña Del Río—much less comprehend his unlikely background.

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