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Police arrest man suspected of stealing from surfers' vehicles

January 13, 2011

If surfers in Newport Beach were wondering who had been burglarizing their cars while they were catching waves, police said they only had to look in their own backyard.

Police on Wednesday arrested Michael Andrew Herz, 52, of Newport Beach, after a brief foot chase on the Balboa Peninsula. Following a string of vehicle burglaries in the city in December –— more for that month than in the last five years — police deployed a team to the area near River Avenue and Orange Street to spot suspicious activity.

Police noticed Herz about 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, said Sgt. Steve Burdette. When they confronted him near Seashore Drive and Fern Street, he ran toward Canal Street. Herz was going to jump into the canal but gave up and was arrested, Burdette said. He was booked on suspicion of burglary.

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Officials said Herz was likely involved in several of the car burglaries, where someone used the surfers' keys to enter their cars and ransack them. But he likely isn't the only thief, according to police.

Joseph Serna

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