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Suspect denies burglary charge

February 02, 2006|By By Lauren Vane

Man accused of rifling through purse at Newport office building pleads not guilty.Police arrested a Costa Mesa man suspected of rifling through a woman's purse in a Newport Beach office building.

Dennis Jay Holeman, 52, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to one count of felony burglary, but police believe he may be responsible for additional, similar burglaries.

"We've had a problem with this in the past ... subjects going into businesses and going through employees' purses, which they leave unattended," Newport Sgt. Bill Hartford said.

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A woman working in the fourth-floor offices of Modern Development Company, 3333 West Coast Highway, found Holeman going through her purse in her office Saturday, Hartford said.

The business was closed at the time and the woman had left her purse in her office. When she returned to her office, the woman saw the man with his hand in her purse.

When she confronted him, he gave the excuse that he was "looking for a business card," Hartford said.

The woman called police, and Holeman was arrested. He was living at the Sandpiper Motel, 1967 Newport Blvd., at the time of his arrest, police said.

A Modern Development Company office manager declined to comment on the incident or any resulting changes in security.

Police believe Holeman has stolen personal property from Newport Beach office buildings before.

This kind of incident is a common one for Newport Beach law enforcement, police said.

There are lots of commercial businesses in the city, and people feel comfortable leaving valuables at their desks, Hartford said.

Each week, Newport police receive at least one report of purse contents stolen from a commercial building. The method is usually the same, Hartford said.

The thief takes the wallet out of the purse, steals the cash and leaves the purse untouched. By the time the victim realizes their wallet is gone, the thief could be out spending their money, Hartford said.

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