A home repairman pleaded no contest Wednesday to allegations he stole and pawned an $8,000 Rolex Submariner watch from the Beverly Grove house of actor Nicolas Cage’s ex-girlfriend.
The watch belonged to Christina Fulton’s son, and prosecutors said it was taken from his bedroom last April on a day when 39-year-old Ricardo Orozco was working there. Orozco is accused of pawning the watch the next day.
Los Angeles police matched the watch to the one stolen through receipts and a serial number, prosecutors said.
Orozco, who was facing a life sentence for a third-strike conviction, is instead expected to serve 32 months in prison under a plea agreement with the L.A. County district attorney's office.
Fulton’s home was burglarized again last August. In that incident, computers and other items were taken, police said. Darwin Vela, 22, and Kelly McLaren, 24, were arrested on suspicion of having taken part in the break-in, but were never charged.
Vela had been scheduled to testify in November against Orozco during a preliminary hearing, but he disappeared for several days just before he was due in court, claiming he had been kidnapped -- a claim police later called a hoax.
McLaren invoked her 5th Amendment right not to testify at Orozco's preliminary hearing.
A police detective testified McLaren, Vela and Orozco had contacted an attorney for actor Charlie Sheen before the burglary about a purported sex tape involving the actor. Prosecutors never found evidence the tape existed or it was the definitive motive for the break-in.
Orozco is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 27.
With more than 80 property crimes a month on average, Beverly Grove has the 12th highest rate of the 209 neighborhoods in the Times' Mapping L.A. database.
[For the Record, 3:30 p.m. PST, Jan. 15: A previous version of this post incorrectly stated a Rolex Mariner watch was stolen; it was a Submariner.]