The scheme started when 51-year-old Duane Van Tuinen, an office machine repairman, was contracted by distributors of the Los Angeles Times to repair equipment, officials said.
Once inside the businesses, investigators said, Van Tuinen repeatedly stole lists of Los Angeles Times subscribers who asked their newspaper delivery be put on hold while they went on vacation.
Van Tuinen passed the lists on to three others who carried out the burglaries, the sheriff's department said.
The crooks went on to steal over $1 million worth of property over a three year period.
Of course, their brilliance must have run out because the story goes on to allow that the four men associated with this ring are now facing multiple burglary counts for their complicity in this scheme.