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September 2, 2012 | By Scott J. Wilson, Los Angeles Times
Laptops and tablet computers are all too convenient lures for thieves. Here are hints for protecting your property. •Like money: "If you had a wad of money sitting out in a public place, would you turn your back on it - even for just a minute?" asks the Federal Trade Commission's OnGuardOnline site. "Would you put it in checked luggage? Leave it on the back seat of your car?" Treat your laptop or tablet like it's cash. •Disguise: If you carry your laptop in a bag that was obviously designed for that purpose, it could become a prime target.
August 25, 2012 | By Tiffany Hsu, Los Angeles Times
The car stolen most often in the U.S. last year - for the fourth year in a row - was the 1994 Honda Accord, according to the annual Hot Wheels report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau. Next, thieves liked to go for the 1998 Honda Civic, according to the report from the nonprofit group that focuses on theft and insurance fraud prevention. Honda vehicles have been the two most popular autos for thieves since 2005. The third-most-stolen car was a full-size 2006 Ford pickup.
June 19, 2012 | By John M. Glionna
LAS VEGAS -- Talk about unholy deeds: Somebody is breaking the lock on the donation box inside a historic Santa Fe, N.M., mission and stealing more than just the congregation's good will. And not just once. In the fourth theft at the Santuario de Guadalupe in the last six months, a thief pried open the tiny wooden box holding donations and made off with the cash inside. Not long ago, someone broke through several iron bars in the back of the little church, smashed a window and made off with two wooden crosses.
June 7, 2012 | By Michelle Maltais, Los Angeles Times
If you're on Facebook you've probably seen the tantalizing come-on: full downloads of the just-released blockbuster movie, free gift cards at your favorite store, and even a look at who is peeping at your profile. The only thing these promises fulfill is making a sucker — and victim — out of you with a click that takes a nanosecond. The result can range from annoying to devastating, from a hacker hijacking your email to send nefarious offers to your friends to implanting a virus that can knock out your computer.
May 30, 2012 | By E. Scott Reckard, Los Angeles Times
Old high school classmates aren't the only ones making connections on Facebook. The crooks are too. There's the Osama bin Laden death video that downloads a virus into your computer. A sting known as the grandparent scam in which fraud artists plead desperately for money, pretending to be young relatives. And last week a new one surfaced that steals your personal information by advertising a 20% cash rebate for users who link debit cards to their Facebook account. People are used to con artists pitching them via email — who hasn't received a sketchy alert that they've won an African lottery, inherited millions from a long-lost relative in Eastern Europe or had a security breach of their bank account?
May 21, 2012 | By Veronica Rocha, Los Angeles Times
Michelle Reiter lost $4,000 in cash, a 32-inch TV and a laptop computer when her Glendale home was burglarized. But also stolen that day was something far more valuable — her 11-year-old teacup Yorkshire terrier, Sophie. Since that time, she has been frantically searching for Sophie, not only because the dog is her greatest love, but because Sophie needs periodic medication for her bowels. Sophie was reported stolen after burglars entered Reiter's home on May 7 in the 600 block of Beulah Street through a rear bathroom window and ransacked the inside, according to Glendale Police Department reports.
May 8, 2012 | By Andrew Blankstein, Los Angeles Times
Jet Tanner was sound asleep in his Irvine home on a March night when he was awakened by the sound of crashing glass. He ran to the front of the house just as the thieves were pulling away. They left a computer and a flat-screen television. In fact, the only thing they took was his 14-year-old daughter Millie's cyclocross team bicycle, worth more than $5,000 and custom made for her competitive racing. "She was crying. She was devastated," Tanner recalled. "She couldn't believe they took her bicycle and equipment and left everything else.
April 6, 2012 | By Richard Winton and Andrew Blankstein, Los Angeles Times
Since the fall, the so-called knock-knock burglars have targeted affluent neighborhoods in the San Fernando Valley, the Westside, the Hollywood Hills and Glendale, committing dozens of breaks-ins, authorities said Thursday. The six burglary crews identified so far consist of gang members with lengthy criminal records, authorities say. The thieves drive into wealthy communities and target those houses whose owners appear to be away. They knock on the door or ring the bell, and if no one answers, they break in, police said.
April 3, 2012 | By Stuart Pfeifer, Los Angeles Times
Here is a roundup of alleged cons, frauds and schemes to watch out for. Beauty queen — Prosecutors in Santa Clara County have accused a former Mrs. Pakistan World of enticing desperate homeowners to pay her tens of thousands of dollars in a loan-modification scam. The Santa Clara County district attorney's office charged Saman Hasnain and her husband, Jawad, with 17 counts of grand theft, accusing them of bilking 17 homeowners, the San Jose Mercury News reported. In the scheme, prosecutors allege, Hasnain and her husband told homeowners that for an advance fee of at least $4,500, they would negotiate with banks to reduce the homeowners' mortgages and forgive overdue payments.
March 27, 2012 | Henry Chu
Naomi Wormell is a vicar, not a vigilante. But these days, she finds it hard to choose Christian charity over some swift -- and terrible -- retribution. The centuries-old church she leads in this quiet English village has fallen victim to a plague sweeping across Britain. Like hungry locusts, metal thieves have repeatedly attacked St. Mary's Church, swooping down on its roof in the dead of night and stripping away large sections of its Victorian-era lead cladding. Six times over a four-month period, the heartsick residents of Hatfield Broad Oak awoke to discover yet another piece of their history stolen, most likely to be melted down and sold for scrap.
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