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$1 Million in Stolen Goods Seized : Crime: Officers arrest Beverly Hills man and recover property he apparently intended to use for construction and decoration of his Bel-Air hillside mansion.

July 17, 1994|SUSAN STEINBERG | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Officers have arrested a Beverly Hills resident and recovered more than $1 million worth of stolen property apparently intended for construction and decoration of his hillside mansion in Bel-Air, a police spokesman said.

More than 500 items, ranging from a 19th-Century oil painting to hundreds of marble floor tiles, were seized June 29 from Wayne Robert Reiner's Beverly Hills apartment and his uncompleted three-story Bel-Air home, the spokesman said.

Reiner, 40, who told police he is an accountant, has been charged with four counts each of burglary and possession of stolen property, but detectives said they expect additional counts to be added. Reiner, who is free on $30,000 bail, could not be reached for comment late last week.

Police said they were alerted to the alleged burglary spree--the largest in recent memory in Beverly Hills--when a real estate broker reported seeing a man inside a vacant house on Alpine Drive on June 22.

Investigating detectives, who had been to the house to look into an earlier burglary, realized that a set of cedar wine racks that they noted there before was missing, they said.

There were also signs that the intruder had been interrupted in the process of removing a wine cellar air conditioner from its fittings.

The intruder had gotten away in a truck parked outside, but the broker wrote down the license number and registration records led detectives to Reiner's address on Glenroy Place in Bel-Air, where they spotted suspiciously similar wine racks lying on the driveway, they said.

Armed with search warrants, they then uncovered two separate troves of stolen goods at the 20,000-square-foot mansion and at Reiner's apartment, said the spokesman, Beverly Hills Police Lt. Frank Salcido.

Some of the stolen equipment, including commercial-grade ovens and light fixtures, had been installed in the house, from which much of the construction material also appears to have been stolen, Salcido said.

Beverly Hills police now have the seized property piled high inside a police department garage: at least 10 television sets, including three large-screen models, videocassette recorders, antique tables and chairs, dozens of bronze and ivory statues, stereo equipment, computers and a set of tagged luggage that appeared to belong to Dionne Warwick.

The more mundane booty includes a top-of-the line refrigerator-freezer combination, six pool pumps, sinks, toilets, shower fixtures, and half a dozen home security systems.

The number and sheer size of some of the items required 10 officers to work about 30 hours each removing the property to police headquarters.

Some of the items have already been identified by the owners, including a Los Angeles antique dealer who recognized about $93,000 worth of stolen pieces, but the bulk of the property is awaiting identification at a viewing scheduled for Tuesday, Salcido said.

With the arrest, detectives have cleared eight burglaries of vacant homes or houses under construction in Beverly Hills, he said.

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