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Westside Digest

West Hollywood : 2 Charged in Movie Thefts

September 23, 1993

Two men already in custody on burglary charges are believed to be part of a ring of thieves who have stolen hundreds of laser discs from record stores throughout Los Angeles County, a detective at the West Hollywood sheriff's station said.

Richard Arevelo, also known as Andrew Bird, 26, of Lakewood and Kevin Weist, 24, of Downey were sentenced Monday to two years in state prison after pleading guilty to charges stemming from a burglary in Burbank.

Detective Robert Rangel at the West Hollywood station said Arevelo and Weist were part of a group of people who took part in a succession of "grab and run" thefts from record stores in Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, Pasadena and the San Fernando Valley. According to Rangel and other detectives, they would pick up armfuls of laser discs, which range in price from $20 to $200, and run to a waiting car.

"These guys we have in custody have been doing a lot of volume," Rangel said. "Usually someone unwraps it and puts it in their pants, but these guys are going in like, 'Hey, I don't care if you see me.' They walk in and grab a whole armful."

So far, charges have been filed against Arevelo and Weist by police in Beverly Hills and by sheriff's deputies in West Hollywood and Crescenta Hills.

Beverly Hills Detective Rick Banks confirmed that his department is investigating a case in which laser discs worth $1,600 were stolen. "The method of operation was the same," Banks said. "The same suspects were identified in several of these cases."

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