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Parolee suspected of burglarizing 200 cars, police say

January 3, 2013 | 11:43 am

Los Angeles police have arrested a parolee they suspect may have burglarized as many as 200 cars, most of them in parking structures, after first blocking out surveillance cameras with silver paint.

Frank Chibbaro, 38, was arrested Tuesday while hiding in a parking structure at 8th and Bixel streets in downtown Los Angeles after a witness saw someone breaking into a car, according to Police Lt. Joe Losorelli.

Police said they found hundreds of items in Chibbaro's car and at his North Hollywood home, including credit cards, laptops, cameras, expensive sunglasses, jewelry and money that investigators suspect he took from cars he had broken into.

"You name it, he had it," Losorelli said.

Investigators think he targeted parking structures because Chibbaro had more than 20 gate openers, Losorelli said. He said Chibbaro probably would break into a car, steal the opener and return to commit more crimes.

Chibbaro, who has served three prison sentences for grand theft auto and burglary, most recently was paroled in November 2011, Losorelli said.

Losorelli said the burglar in these cases had a distinctive way of operating. "Normally, you don’t get car burglars who go into carports and spray out cameras," he said.

Chibbaro was arrested after a witness saw someone breaking into a car in an underground parking complex and called police. The witness gave chase. After officers lost the suspect, they called in search dogs, who found the suspect hiding after two to three hours. He was arrested about 10 a.m. on Tuesday.

Six victims have been identified so far, including some who lived in North Hollywood, Van Nuys and Torrance, where the suspect may also have been breaking into cars, Losorelli said.


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-- Jeff Gottlieb