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Police arrest four on suspicion of possessing stolen property

Authorities say one man was acting as a 'fence,' or seller of stolen goods at Orange Coast College's swap meet.

November 07, 2011|By Joseph Serna

If you recently had a cell phone, laptop, iPod or GPS device stolen in Newport Beach or Costa Mesa and have the device's serial number, police say they just might have found your property.

Saturday morning, Newport Beach police searched a home in the 1000 block of Valencia Street in Costa Mesa, where detectives believed a man who allegedly sells stolen property lived.

Police said the man acted as a "fence," or middleman who receives stolen property from one person then resells it. In this case, the property was resold at Orange Coast College's weekend swap meet, police said.

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Officers found more than 100 cell phones, 20 laptops, 20 iPods and 20 car GPS devices in the home. They arrested four Costa Mesa family members: Alfredo Flores, 46; Dorian Flores, 22; Dante Flores, 21; and Edgardo Flores, 19.

All four men were booked Saturday on suspicion of possessing stolen property and are being held in lieu of $20,000 bail. They will be arraigned Tuesday.

Doug Bennett, administrator of the Orange Coast College Swap Meet, said they have two compliance officers who check on the vendors to see if they're selling suspicious items during the event.

"They walk it every day, and they're looking for things the vendors are doing, things that are suspicious … like where they're selling Gucci bags for 20 bucks, and we know they cost a lot more than that," he said. "We're looking for items that look out of place.

"But they're not law enforcement officers. If someone has a phone or stereo or GPS device, without some notice from police it's going to be hard for us to identify it's from a crime."

The Flores' have been banned from selling at the event, Bennett said.

Those who live in the area, have been a victim of a vehicle or residential burglary recently and have the serial number to a stolen device, contact Newport Beach Det. Josh Comte at jcomte@nbpd.org.

joseph.serna@latimes.com

Twitter: @JosephSerna

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