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Native American jewelry targeted in string of burglaries

March 12, 2012

Laguna Beach police are looking for the suspect in a string of commercial burglaries targeting Native American jewelry, which date back to December.

All the incidents involved shattering a window with a rock to gain access, police said in a statement.

The most recent theft was March 10 at Kokopelli Gallery at 332 Forest Ave. The suspect, who was caught on tape, broke into the business by throwing a rock through the front window.

He stole $3,500 worth of jewelry within 30 seconds, police said in a news release. Police believe he fled through an adjacent building and may have parked a vehicle on Ocean Avenue. He was wearing a dark jacket, white baseball cap and sweatpants with striping along the sides.

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The first of these similar thefts was reported Dec. 29, 2011. Police said that a suspect entered Indian Territory at 305 N. Coast Hwy. through a broken window and stole $3,000 worth of jewelry, which included Navajo coins.

On Jan. 22, 2012, Indian Territory had another window shattered and $15,000 worth of jewelry stolen from its display cases. According to the release, the items included in the theft were a Navajo Collector's set, which had 11 concha coral medallions.

On Jan. 30, Great Exchange Consignment at 976 S. Coast Hwy. had its front window smashed and jewelry stolen from a display case. The suspect dropped several pieces on the street. The estimated loss was not available.

Kokopelli Gallery reported another burglary on Feb. 29. Again, the front window was shattered and $10,000 worth of jewelry and stones was taken.

The gallery also reported a watch worth $806 that was stolen Feb. 18, but it is unknown if that theft is related to the other two.

The video of the March 10 burglary at Kokopelli Gallery can be viewed on YouTube here.

Anyone with information should contact Lt. Jason Kravetz at (949) 497-0307 or at jkravetz@lagunabeachcity.net.

—Joanna Clay

Twitter: @joannaclay

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