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8 Arrested, 15 Vehicles Seized in Auto Theft Probe

September 29, 1988|DREW SILVERN | Times Staff Writer

Glendale police have arrested eight people and seized 15 vehicles that they said are part of a major auto theft ring that operated in the San Gabriel, San Fernando and Antelope valleys.

Eight of the vehicles have been confirmed as stolen. Police say, however, that they have been unable to trace the owners of the other seven and believe that the identification numbers were altered, authorities said.

In addition to the vehicles, one of which was found hanging from the rafters of a Palmdale garage, police seized firearms, narcotics, a crossbow, and hundreds of auto and motorcycle parts, police said.

Two of the suspects, John Buchannan, 32, and Van Ambrose Abbatecola, 33, both of Palmdale, were arraigned in Glendale Municipal Court on charges of burglary and grand theft.

A third, Crystal Ann Fritz, 28, of Tujunga, has been charged with narcotics possession.

According to police, several of those arrested are associated with a motorcycle gang.

Sgt. Don Meredith of the department's auto theft unit said officers uncovered the ring while investigating a burglary at Jewel City Glass Co. in Glendale, but he declined to outline the evidence that linked the burglary and the auto theft ring.

Police are continuing their investigation and more arrests are possible, Meredith said.

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