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Victims of Car Thieves Scan Seized Property

November 13, 1987|STEVE PADILLA | Times Staff Writer

Amos Shaya found his stolen accounting textbook, but it did little to lift his spirits Thursday as he walked through a room filled with more than 300 items recovered when Los Angeles police cracked a major car-theft ring last week.

The accounting book was only a reminder of the day his "mint-condition" 1983 Toyota Supra was stolen and stripped last month. Police recovered much of the car, but some parts are still missing, including its seats.

Shaya, 23, of Van Nuys, was one of several San Fernando Valley residents who toured the Van Nuys Division roll-call room to look at items collected when police arrested 15 people they believe are part of a Vietnamese gang that stole 75 cars and burglarized others in the Valley in the last seven months.

On display were items found inside the cars, including stereos, skis, backpacks and golf clubs. Shaya and some other residents were taken to another part of the station to look at car parts recovered in the raids.

15 Suspects Arrested

The suspects--10 men, one woman, three teen-age girls and one teen-age boy--have been charged with a variety of crimes including grand theft auto, receiving stolen property and residential robbery, said Detective David Perry. One suspect has made bail, but the others remain in jail.

The suspects, who range in age from 14 to 29, were arrested Nov. 2 in raids on houses in Van Nuys and Sepulveda. The ring usually stole Toyotas but took an occasional Jaguar or Porsche, Perry said.

Perry said police held the three-hour display of stolen property Thursday night in the hope of collecting more evidence against the suspects. Citizens who identified their belongings were interviewed by detectives.

During the first 90 minutes, about 45 people inspected tables covered with wallets, keys, tennis racquets, tape players, jewelry, a bowling ball and a large clock covered in gold leaf. Four people identified possessions, Perry said.

All items, including those identified, will remain impounded as the investigation continues, he said.

Several citizens went away disappointed. Walter Prezioso, 17, of Burbank, had come in the hopes of finding a raft, life jackets and other nautical gear he kept in a Toyota truck stolen five days before the suspects were arrested.

"It is really discouraging," Prezioso said as he looked about the room. "I wish they had my stuff."

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