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July 10, 2012 | By Tina Susman
NEW YORK -- When dozens of little American flags began disappearing from Civil War veterans' graves at a cemetery in Hudson, N.Y., this month, locals fumed. Who could be so callous, especially in the days surrounding Independence Day? Thanks to surveillance cameras, a stepped-up police presence and forensic sleuthing, officials have the answer: woodchucks, also known as groundhogs. The animals apparently were burrowing beneath the ground, then taking the flags into their subterranean homes, where investigators poking cameras into the dirt have spotted some of the missing banners.
April 23, 2014 | Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO -- Nearly 100 chanting and placard-waving union members marched to a downtown Sacramento office tower in a staged and futile attempt to serve a $240 million bill on the California Chamber of Commerce. The "invoice," union officials said, represented the amount of unpaid wages awarded by the state labor commissioner's office to workers that went uncollected from 2008 to 2011. The Service Employees International Union is sponsoring a bill aimed at preventing so-called wage theft.
November 26, 2013 | By Charles Fleming
A deeper data dive on our recent post on motorcycle thefts in 2012 has produced some better information on specific makes and models. And Honda wins again. The original story , based on a new study from the National Insurance Crime Bureau, pointed out that Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki led the league, and by brand were the most-stolen motorcycle makes. It also assured California residents, and those living in L.A. County, that we are, indeed, No. 1. Our state and county led the nation for all motorcycle thefts for the year.
April 22, 2014 | By Charlie Beck and George Gascón
Do you own a smartphone? If so, you are a target for opportunistic thieves. Robberies and thefts involving smartphones are now the most common property crimes in America. The black market for these stolen devices has become so lucrative that even Colombian drug cartels now traffic in them. According to a survey by Consumer Reports, some 3.1 million Americans were victims of smartphone theft last year, nearly double the number in 2012. Los Angeles has experienced a more than a 30% increase in smartphone theft since 2011.
July 30, 2013 | By Jerry Hirsch
California ranks at the top of all states for luxury car theft, according to an insurance industry research group. The National Insurance Crime Bureau looked at a four-year period starting at the beginning of 2009 and found that California accounted for nearly a quarter of the roughly 4,400 luxury vehicles stolen in the U.S.  The report includes thefts only for 2010, 2011, and 2012 model year vehicles. New York was the top metropolitan area for luxury car theft, with 806, toping second-place Los Angeles' 491 thefts by a wide margin.
September 25, 2012 | By John M. Glionna
There are a lot of strange things that get stolen out on the endless acres of American rangeland, a vast and often underguarded expanse, but Karen Gibson of rural Wyoming may have found the strangest: horsehair. Gibson recently reported to authorities in Fremont County that someone cut the hair from her horse's tail. The report is the latest in a peculiar crime spree -- authorities have more than 30 reports that people are stealing horsehair across three Wyoming counties. Investigators aren't sure of the motive, but they say that horsehair can be valuable and is often used to create belts, paintbrushes and the bows of musical instruments.
May 24, 2013 | By Jeremiah Dobruck
Irvine police have arrested two men suspected of burglarizing several religious institutions in Orange County, including an Irvine temple, with the help of two other suspects. In January, investigators identified Robert Dennis, 45, of Santa Ana, as a suspect from DNA at the temple, according to the Daily Pilot , citing a statement from Irvine police. After searching a residence in Garden Grove connected to Dennis, Irvine police identified two more suspects: Fernando Flores, 21, of Garden Grove, and James Dorscht, 39, of Norwalk.
May 13, 2013 | By Chris O'Brien
New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman  is pressing leading cellphone manufacturers to do more to help stem a growing tide of mobile phone thefts.  On Monday, Schneiderman's office sent letters to Apple, Samsung, Google and Microsoft, asking for details about what they are doing to deter such crimes.  "Cracking down on violent and dangerous cell phone thefts is important for New Yorkers," Schneiderman said in a statement....
October 23, 2013 | By Richard Winton
Alhambra police arrested a transient Wednesday who detectives suspect  stole two laptops containing 729,000 patient files from a hospital group's administration building. Christopher Lee Brown, 36, also known as Allen Marcous, was taken into custody at 8:52 a.m. in connection with the Oct. 12 thefts of two laptops, said Sgt. Jerry Johnson of the Alhambra Police Department. The laptops have not yet been recovered, he said. Brown was allegedly seen on a security video breaking into a sixth-floor office on a medical campus in Alhambra.
December 12, 2011 | By Sam Quinones, Los Angeles Times
As Southern California awoke to the wreckage from a recent massive windstorm, music teacher Ruben Gonzalez Jr. was assessing a different sort of devastation in his band room at South Gate High School . Thieves had pried open a door and torn the room apart while hunting for a specific instrument. "All they took were tubas," Gonzalez said. Losses included an upright concert tuba and a silver sousaphone - or marching-band tuba - worth a combined $13,000. Several weeks earlier, band members at Centennial High School in Compton experienced a similar shock when they found that eight sousaphones were missing.
April 22, 2014 | By Cindy Carcamo
Less than two weeks after federal officials rebuked the Albuquerque Police Department for a rash of unjustified officer-involved shootings, an officer fatally shot a 19-year-old woman suspected of stealing a vehicle before pointing a gun at police, authorities said. Mary Hawkes became the first person to be killed by Albuquerque police since the Justice Department released a scathing report that called for a "systematic change" to address what it said was a long-ingrained culture of deadly force in the Police Department.
April 16, 2014 | By Salvador Rodriguez
Many of the world's top phone manufacturers, including Apple and Samsung, announced that they have committed to include basic anti-theft tools for smartphones made after July 2015 for sale in the U.S. Google, Microsoft, Nokia, HTC and several others joined Apple and Samsung in the voluntary commitment that was announced Tuesday. As part of their pledge, the companies will create basic tools designed to help consumers recover stolen smartphones. The committment was outlined by the CTIA-The Wireless Assn., and it was also backed by the U.S.' four major wireless carriers.
April 15, 2014 | By Ryan Menezes
A former Compton Fire Department battalion chief pleaded no contest Tuesday to felony charges of arson of property and embezzlement by a public official. Marcel Melanson, 38, was accused of stealing valuable city-owned radio equipment, then setting a fire to cover up the theft. He is expected to be sentenced to three years and four months in state prison, a prosecutor said. Melanson must pay restitution, but the amount is still being determined, the prosecutor added. As a result of the plea, authorities dropped the more severe charge of arson of a structure and a second embezzlement count.
April 13, 2014 | Michael Hiltzik
The continuing push for higher minimum wages across the country has much to recommend it, but the campaign shouldn't keep us from recognizing a truly insidious practice that impoverishes low-wage workers all the more. It's known as wage theft. Wage theft, as documented in surveys, regulatory actions and lawsuits from around the country, takes many forms: Forcing hourly employees off the clock by putting them to work before they can clock in or after they clock out. Manipulating their time cards to cheat them of overtime pay. Preventing them from taking legally mandated breaks or shaving down their lunch hours.
April 8, 2014 | By Tony Perry
SAN DIEGO - The former executive director of Congregation Beth El synagogue in La Jolla has pleaded guilty to embezzling $394,872 from the synagogue over five years, federal prosecutors said Monday. Eric Levine, 36, had control of the synagogue's bank account and credit card from 2008 to 2013, overseeing the synagogue's annual budget of nearly $2 million. Levine recorded the expenses as Ritual Fund, Rabbi Emeritus, High Holidays, Purim Baskets, landscaping and other things, according to documents filed in federal court in San Diego.
April 1, 2014 | By Tiffany Hsu
The vast majority of fast-food workers in the U.S. say they've been the victims of wage theft, according to a survey released Tuesday. Out of 1,088 respondents nationwide, 89% said they have been forced to do off-the-books work, been denied breaks, been refused overtime pay or been placed in similarly unsavory circumstances. The same holds for 84% of McDonald's workers, 92% of Burger King employees and 82% of Wendy's rank and file, according to the survey, which was conducted by Hart Research for the Low Pay Is Not OK campaign.
October 14, 1986 | From Deutsche Presse-Agentur
Thefts are continuing in empty buildings inside the evacuated security zone around the stricken Chernobyl nuclear plant, the newspaper Sovietskaya Rossiya said Monday. Militia patrols are forced to keep a constant watch because of the continuing "attacks on private and state property," the paper said. Police in the town of Pripyat have caught three workers from the nuclear plant stealing a record player, cigarettes and candy from a cafe.
August 2, 2013 | By Veronica Rocha
Glendale police fear a spike in fuel thefts last month may signal a growing trend. Nine gas-siphoning thefts - most of which occurred in South Glendale and most of which involved SUVs - were reported in July. They involved thieves cutting a vehicle's fuel line between the tank and filler neck and then sticking plastic tubing into the fuel line to siphon the fuel out. In one case, a screw was used to pierce and drain a gas tank. In another case, thieves used a garden hose to siphon gas from a vehicle's tank into a trash can. The thefts are likely to continue until gas prices begin leveling off, Police Sgt. Tom Lorenz said.
March 28, 2014 | Richard Winton, Kate Mather and Dan Weikel
As the sea of luggage twists and turns down rollers from terminals at Los Angeles International Airport, the bags stop briefly at large platforms where workers separate them for flights across the world. It is there, police said, that a group of baggage handlers pulled off one of the largest property heists in airport history. For months, detectives said, workers rifled through bags looking for items to steal. "Basically everything of value -- be it electronics, jewelry and items -- that could be stolen in seconds would be removed from bags," LAX Police Chief Pat Gannon said.
March 28, 2014 | By Richard Winton, Kate Mather and Dan Weikel
Authorities are still trying  determine how long an alleged theft ring at Los Angeles International Airport was operating, but say a group of baggage handlers was responsible for one of the largest property heists in the airport's history. As of Thursday, s ix people were arrested in the case, but officials said as many as 25 are thought to be involved in the scheme.  Police said that for months the workers rifled through bags as they separated them for flights going to destinations around the world, looking for items to steal and then sell, sometimes using Craigslist.
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