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Fake health inspector rips off Claremont business, officials say

October 3, 2011 | 11:05 am

An accused burglar has been arrested after he allegedly impersonated a health inspector to get into a Claremont business. Officials from the state Board of Equalization warned that other businesses have been targeted by burglars posing as board investigators.

Efren Arceo, 47, of Los Angeles was arrested last week in connection with the Sept. 19 burglary in Claremont. According to a statement released by Board of Equalization officials, he is suspected committing at least 30 similar burglaries.

Arceo remained jailed Monday on $200,000 bail.

Equalization board Chairman Jerome E. Horton, in a statement, warned that Los Angeles-area retailers were being targeted by burglars who gained entry by impersonating Board of Equalization investigators who had been assigned to check the stores' compliance with cigarette licensing requirements and then stole cash, cigarettes, tobacco products and cigarette license information. 

The board has received 14 similar complaints from retailers in Los Angeles, El Monte, Pomona, Chino Hills, Gardena, Whittier, and Arleta. 

While Arceo was accused of impersonating a health inspector, it was unclear whether he'd actually posed as a Board of Equalization inspector.

Business operators who suspect an investigator is an impostor can call the board's hot line at (888) 334-3300 or contact their local Board of Equalization office to verify the representative's identity.

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-- Abby Sewell

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