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New arrest for suspect in O.C. case

John Steven Burgess is suspected of stealing DVDs in Florida and had fake IDs, police say.

September 27, 2007|Christine Hanley | Times Staff Writer

A convicted sex offender named as a suspect in the disappearance of an Orange County college student was carrying a fake ID and Social Security card when he was arrested on suspicion of stealing several DVDs from a Florida video store, authorities said Wednesday.

John Steven Burgess, arrested Sept. 20 at a Blockbuster store in Jacksonville, Fla., conceded using a razor blade to remove the movie discs from a box before sliding them into his pocket, according to the police report.

"I'm just being stupid. I know better. I'm not a thief," he told arresting officers, the police report said.

Arthur Wiggins, a sales manager at the store, said Wednesday that among the movies in Burgess' pocket were "Natural Born Killers," "Death Proof" and "Inside Deep Throat."

He got the fake Social Security card and California driver's license, which identified him as Logan Anderson, at a Hollywood tourist shop, the police report says.

Burgess, who is free on bail, is scheduled to be in a Los Angeles courtroom Oct. 10 for a hearing on a charge of failing to register as a sex offender while living in the city.

The bail in that case -- $250,000 -- could be revoked because of his latest arrest.

Burgess, 35, has been named by Orange County sheriff's investigators as a suspect in the disappearance of Donna Jou, a biology student at San Diego State who was living with her mother in Rancho Santa Margarita for the summer when she vanished.

Jou was last seen by family June 23 when Burgess picked her up for a date and took her to a party at his rented home in West Los Angeles, authorities say.

The next day, Jou's mother received a text message from Jou's cellphone saying that the battery was dying but that she would be home soon. Authorities suspect the message wasn't sent by Jou.

On July 8, the license plate of a pickup truck and a motorcycle helmet, both belonging to Burgess, were found -- along with rope, rubber gloves and a scrubbing brush -- near railroad tracks about 1 1/2 miles from his house.

He left California shortly after Jou disappeared and was arrested July 25 in Jacksonville after police said they saw him trying to dispose of a bag of cocaine.

Burgess was convicted of felony possession of drugs and sentenced to time served before being extradited to Los Angeles on an outstanding warrant for failure to register as a sex offender.

Jim Amormino, spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff's Department, said the fake IDs Burgess was carrying in Florida were "disturbing" because "you can travel freely with a good fake ID."

Burgess' attorney, George Bird, could not be reached for comment.

christine.hanley@latimes.com

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