San Pedro suspected thief dubbed 'Grinch'

SAN PEDRO, Calif.

While authorities were investigating a package that was stolen from a porch of a Rancho Palos Verdes home, evidence led them to 42-year-old Michael Wieczorek of San Pedro.

Wieczorek was arrested for the Rancho Palos Verdes theft. When he was taken into custody, officials found narcotics, credit cards and identification that did not belong to him.

Authorities say a search of his home turned up stolen jewelry, toys and clothing.

Detectives say some of the stolen items were under Wieczorek's Christmas tree wrapped up as gifts to family members. Deputies said the presents included a pajama set that Wieczorek was going to give to his mother.

Investigators also found stolen Christmas cards, credit card reading devices, counterfeit California driver's licenses, altered checks and fraudulent income tax forms. The evidence led detectives to believe Wieczorek was filing tax returns using various victims' identities so he could steal their tax returns.

Detectives also found a lot of stolen mail from addresses in Rolling Hills Estates, Torrance, Palos Verdes Estates, San Pedro, Los Angeles, Carson, Long Beach, Lakewood, Redlands, Temecula, Auburn, Murrieta and even as far as Bellevue, Wash.

After he was arrested Wednesday, Wieczorek posted $20,000 bond and was ordered to appear in court Jan. 10.

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