Two more burglars in that rash of thefts from Orange County churches, temples and other religious facilities pleaded guilty and were sentenced to a year in jail each.
Robert Lee Dennis, 45, of Santa Ana, and Fernando Flores, 21, of Garden Grove, received the same jail time as Daniel Ruben Cortes, 29, of Santa Ana, who pleaded guilty last month.
James Allen Dorscht, a 39-year-old parolee out of Norwalk, is the last remaining defendant. He's due back in court on Aug. 26.
It is believed the four men, together and in different combinations, burglarized religious centers in Anaheim, Irvine and Santa Ana all year, usually by breaking open or taking with them office safes. One contained the previous night's bingo receipts.
The big break in the case came after Forty Martyrs Armenian Church, 5315 W. McFadden Ave., Santa Ana, was hit on May 1. Surveillance video produced a clear shot of Cortes, wearing a White Sox ball cap, staring into the camera. He was trying unsuccessfully to disable the camera with a screwdriver.
The arrest of Dennis came thanks to DNA evidence. He pleaded guilty Tuesday to four counts of first-degree burglary, possession of a deadly weapon and possession of a firearm by a felon, all felonies, and misdemeanor possession of burglary tools.
Flores copped to two felony counts of first-degree burglary and possession of a controlled substance as well as misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.
Dorscht is suspected of keeping the burglary ring going after the other men had already been jailed, most recently being linked to a job at Our Lady of Peace Korean Catholic Center in Irvine on June 10. Also suspected of being part of burglaries of the Islamic Center of Irvine
and the Mandir Hindu temple in that city, Dorscht pleaded not guilty at his arraignment to a count of first-degree burglary, two counts of second-degree burglary and a count of grand theft, all felonies.
Daniel Cortes Held in 3-Man Crew's Theft of Santa Ana Church Safe with $15,000 Inside
Religious Facilities Burglaries: Robert Dennis, Fernando Flores Held, James Dorscht Sought
James Allen Dorscht Church Burglary Case in Limbo; Daniel Ruben Cortes is Guilty
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.