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Real treasure dug up in Granada Hills

February 27, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
You'll seldom find buried treasure in the Southland, but police have, thanks to a tip from a convicted burglar. The loot was found in a pipe in Granada Hills near the 118 Freeway, just as the burglar promised.A few years back, detectives were dealing with quite the burglary spree. There were dozens and dozens of break-ins and thousands of items were stolen, totaling more than $11 million.

Eventually police caught their man and were able to retrieve millions of dollars' worth of items, but still quite a lot was missing. Until they went treasure hunting in the Valley.

We may be just a couple months away from the new "Indiana Jones" blockbuster, but who needs Hollywood special effects when you can find real treasure buried right here in the Valley?

A recently dug hole was the resting spot of hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of booty.

The LAPD laid it all out on a table downtown after digging it all up in Granada Hills.

"Where the detectives unearthed a piece of plastic pipe buried in the ground, from that find they were able to uncover a large quantity of jewelry," said LAPD Commander Harlan Ward.

The LAPD detectives were definitely getting into the buried treasure spirit. They brought more than just shovels -- they were also armed with a map sketched out by Roberto Caveda, the burglar busted for that string of break-ins a few years back.

"Waiting to be sent over to Department of Corrections, he drew us a treasure map directing us to this location," said Detective Dan Schultz.

It isn't quite the spot you'd think you'd find hidden treasure. It's just a Caltrans right of way at the 118 Freeway and White Oak Ave. But the gold and jewels and other loot is real -- and so is the excitement.

"First time in any of our careers this has happened," said Detective Bill Longacre. "It was like digging around in a cave and finding the pirate's treasure chest. But we can't keep it."

Now that the digging is done, investigators will be digging into some serious paperwork, proving that treasure hunting isn't as romantic as it is on the big screen.

Because even when you're a full-time sleuth, the really fun stuff like this is only part-time.

Detectives say they haven't added up the value of this latest find, but they did say at least one of the rings they found could be worth as much as $300,000.

So why did the burglar turn over that map? Detectives wouldn't venture any kind of guess, but Caveda's sentencing is coming up soon, and he is facing some eight to 10 years in prison.

 

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