The "Mission Impossible" burglar who used a combination of high-tech equipment and ropes to make daring rooftop entries into electronics stores throughout Southern California has been arrested, Irvine police said Wednesday.
The suspect, Steven Jay Krueger, was arrested Tuesday in Monrovia, one week after he and accomplices allegedly stole 1,000 cases of wireless modems worth $300,000 from Laptop Solutions in Irvine, Police Lt. Tom Hume said.
According to Hume, Krueger, 35, and an unknown number of accomplices used their trademark entry to break into the computer store Nov. 17. The burglars used grappling hooks to climb to the building's roof, cut a hole through it and climbed inside by using a rope ladder, police said.
Hume declined to release details because investigators are looking for more suspects. He said the suspects were allegedly "involved in numerous thefts throughout Southern California" that netted them $1.5 million in stolen equipment, mostly computers and electronics goods.
The police spokesman said the burglary ring Krueger is allegedly involved with "has been in operation for quite a while."
Hume said he did not know how the ring targeted the businesses they burglarized. "But we believe they picked computer-related businesses because the items are very easy to fence," he said.
Investigators recovered equipment stolen from Laptop Solutions when they arrested Krueger, Hume said. Police also found $67,000 in cash, along with a pewter and bronze eagle sculpture that was reported stolen earlier from a Newport Beach shop.
Police also found equipment apparently used in the robberies, including a night vision scope, grappling hooks, rappelling ropes, rope ladders, five two-way radios and other gear, said Hume.
"These guys were very active and had very sophisticated equipment. They had saws to cut holes in the roof and passed the stolen property up through the hole and then down the side of the building," Hume said.
Krueger, who is being held in Orange County Jail on $100,000 bail, has refused to talk to investigators, police said. It was unclear whether Krueger lives in Monrovia. A mug shot of the suspect released by police shows a muscular man with a thick neck, sporting a goatee and dark hair.
"He needed that upper body strength to raise and lower himself inside the buildings they hit and to pull the stuff they stole out through the roof," Hume said.