A man arrested on suspicion of stealing a purse from a Leisure World resident – and accused of targeting senior centers across the region -- pleaded not guilty to multiple burglary charges Tuesday, according to court records.
William Henry Eisenberg, 49, faces seven counts of second-degree burglary, six counts of theft from the elderly and one count of possession of a controlled substance.
On Saturday at 11:30 a.m. someone reported a purse theft near a community clubhouse in Leisure World. The suspect was reportedly seen riding a bike away from the North Gate, exit of the 9,000-resident community.
A few minutes later, Seal Beach Police Department officers arrested Eisenberg, who was riding his bicycle near the intersection of Seal Beach Boulevard and Lampson Avenue.
Detective Sergeant Ron La Velle suspects Eisenberg of stealing more than just purses from Leisure World: wallets and credit cards, too.
La Velle said he felt the case against Eisenberg “looks good.”
“As slick as he was, he wasn’t really trying to conceal his identity,” La Velle said. A number of witnesses identified Eisenberg, added La Velle.
According to La Velle, officers think Eisenberg had been targeting elderly across the county and beyond.
“He had a notebook listing addresses of senior centers in Orange County,” Eisenberg said. “We know that he hit a senior center in the city of Orange. We know that he victimized a senior center in Buena Park.”
La Velle reported that Eisenberg allegedly watched elderly people when they gathered at places such as churches. When they weren't looking, he would take their wallets and purses and stuff the items in a backpack, added La Velle.
“I hate to report that there are still some items that we have not recovered,” La Velle said.
The Seal Beach Police Department is asking residents to help identify potential additional victims.
Authorities also allege Eisenberg committed thefts of senior centers in Los Angeles County and that Eisenberg allegedly used stolen credit cards.
Anyone with information, including victims of similar thefts as well as other law enforcement agencies that have had similar cases, are urged to contact Detective Gary Krogman at 562-799-4100, extension 1108.