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Suspected gym thief arrested

Police believe man broke into cars in Costa Mesa, Irvine to steal laptops.

October 19, 2007|By Daniel Tedford

Costa Mesa police suspect a man Irvine police have in custody on suspicion of smash-and-grab thefts from cars parked at health clubs could be connected to similar break-ins in Costa Mesa.

Paul Maurice Denis, 40, from Santa Ana, was arrested on suspicion of burglary at his home when police went there after heavy surveillance throughout the month led them to Denis, according to Irvine police. Police staked out areas near health clubs after a rash of the smash-and-grabs over the past few weeks. Small items such as laptops were stolen typically, police said.

Detectives suspect Denis is connected to at least two burglaries — one in Irvine on Oct. 16 and another in Costa Mesa — after they discovered stolen property from the burglary in Irvine on Tuesday.

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Investigators connected Denis to the Costa Mesa burglary through a fingerprint at the scene of one of the break-ins, Costa Mesa police said.

But Denis, who is on parole and has a prior history of convictions for theft, has not been charged yet, Costa Mesa police said.

Costa Mesa investigators are working with Irvine authorities.


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