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Santa Ana man, 19, suspected in tire thefts

December 14, 2010

A Santa Ana man and his unidentified partner are likely responsible for more than half a dozen vehicle tire thefts in Costa Mesa over the last month, Costa Mesa police said Tuesday.

Police arrested Eduardo Ortega-Garcia, 19, Tuesday morning after seeing him and another man drive away from the scene of the latest tire theft in the city, said Lt. Mark Manley.

The men were seen driving away from a 600 block of Park Avenue about 2:45 a.m. Police were rushing to the area after a resident saw someone steal wheels off a 2006 Cadillac CTS.

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Police tried to pull over the car Ortega-Garcia was riding in and ended up chasing it for nearly half a mile, Manley said. The driver and Ortega-Garcia, who was riding in the passenger seat, ran away once the car was stopped. Police did not catch the driver. Ortega-Garcia was taken away after struggling with police, leaving one officer with a broken hand, Manley said.

About half a dozen cars have had their tires stolen in the city in the last month, Manley said. It's an unusual crime that can usually be linked to a particular set of criminals, he added.

One way criminals profit from stolen tires is by pawning the rims and selling the tires online, Manley said.

Joseph Serna

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