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Man arrested in OC office worker wallet/purse thefts

John Steven Gachupin, 47, was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of burglarizing wallets and purses in Irvine.

August 3, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Detectives from the Irvine Police Department arrested John Steven Gachupin, 47, Tuesday on suspicion of burglarizing wallets and purses at least 13 times in the city.

Police say Gachupin may be responsible for more than 20 similar burglaries in Orange County.

Police had been seeking a man caught on retail-store surveillance cameras using stolen credit cards that were burglarized from wallets and purses in Irvine office buildings. The thefts occurred during business hours on weekdays.

Police believe Gachupin or an accomplice stole from unattended office work spaces.

Gachupin is accused of using stolen credit cards at nearby retail stores immediately after stealing them. On at least one occasion, the suspect allegedly purchased a greeting card along with a high-value store gift card, which could later be sold for cash.

Gachupin was seen leaving locations in two different vehicles, a late 1990s black Mercedes 4-door sedan, and a newer model silver Mercedes ML SUV.

The lead detective in the case identified a pattern of transactions in the Oceanside area, according to the Irvine Police Dept., that included multiple gift-card transactions in Oceanside using cards purchased in other Orange County cities, and one in San Diego County.

Gachupin was in possession of a stolen credit card that had not yet been reported when he was arrested Tuesday, according to the department.

Gachupin was held at the Orange County Jail without bail due to a parole hold.

Anyone with further information regarding these thefts is encouraged to contact Irvine Police Detectives at (949) 724-7244.

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