Newspaper probes link to vacation burglaries


There might not be a movie burglar scheme as classic as the plot in “Home Alone.”

Not that we are — or ever would be — fans of robbing people’s houses while they’re on vacation. And besides: Joe Pesci’s character disguises himself as a police officer to find empty houses to plunder? Not plausible.

A more believable scheme might have been if Pesci had used a local newspaper hold list to find out when subscribers would be out of town and target their homes, just like two real-life burglars are suspected of doing.

The Contra Costa Times is working with police on how their vacation hold list got into the hands of two suspects arrested in Livermore about a week ago while in the process of allegedly robbing another house.

On top of that, the two men were allegedly in a stolen car. Connected to a Walnut Creek robbery. And were allegedly in the process of stealing another car.

If that doesn’t stop you from putting your name on a newspaper hold list ever again, nothing will.

David Rounds, Bay Area News Group Vice President of Circulation, said changes are being made to the newspaper’s internal system so that hold lists don’t indicate if a subscriber is on vacation or not.

Walnut Creek Police Lt. Steve Gorski said there is likely a third burglar involved, but no other information about the suspects has been released.

The two men were arrested in Livermore last week while driving a stolen car linked to a Walnut Creek burglary. The suspects allegedly were in the middle of trying to steal a second car from a driveway next door to another house they were planning to rob, Gorski said.

Livermore police were called and the men were arrested shortly after. The hold list was found in their car, Gorski said.

An internal investigation has also been launched to see if anyone from within the company leaked the list. Neither suspect, though, is a Times employee or has any affiliation with the paper, Gorski said.

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