4 arrested, tied to theft ring

Stolen goods including car stereos, clothing and auto parts are found in self-storage unit after the bust.

The Orange County Register/March 8, 2002
By Erika I. Ritchie

Laguna Beach -- Laguna Beach police have broken up a burglary ring that stole hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of car parts, construction equipment and other items in central and north Orange County, authorities said Thursday.

Four people, including the man suspected of being the ringleader, an admitted white supremacist, were arrested. Most of the stolen goods were recovered from a self-storage unit in Westminster, police said.

"This is giant, property- wise," Sgt. Jason Kravitz said. "There may be more suspects, but it appears we took down the ringleader."

Eric John Mack, 35, who has been in and out of jail on auto theft and burglary convictions since age 19, was arrested on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance, possession of stolen property and vehicular burglary. He is being held on $150,000 bail.

Mack, of Stanton, is a reputed member of the Nazi Lowriders, a white-supremacist gang. Officials consider the gang a fast-growing player in the methamphetamine trade.

Mack and people alleged to be his associates stole from cars parked on streets, in driveways and inside garages between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., police said.

"We recovered a slew of garage-door openers," Kravitz said, explaining that the suspects apparently drove down streets and activated the openers, occasionally finding doors that would open.

Mack was arrested in Laguna Beach on Feb. 19 after he approached what police say was a known drug house in the 200 block of Jasmine Street. He asked undercover detectives why police were present.

Police had responded to a homeowner's request to assist with the removal of a group of squatters.

"It was a coincidence, but something didn't add up, and the detectives kept up the conversation with him," Kravitz said. "The one thing led to another."

Also arrested on various charges were Ryan Beck, 24, of Huntington Beach; Sierra Millsap-Witt, 23, of Tustin; and Heather Sevier, 24, of Laguna Beach.

Detectives obtained a search warrant for a hotel room Mack was renting in Anaheim. In the room they found a cache of stolen property. They later searched Mack's Stanton home and found illegal drugs, stolen property and a receipt for a storage unit in Westminster.

"We opened up the (storage unit), and it was just filled with stolen property," including car stereos, clothing and parts of two cars, Kravitz said.

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