Ex-con gets prison for stealing iPads from school

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Stolen iPads

Border Patrol agents found 29 stolen iPads during the search of a car at a freeway checkpoint.

SAN DIEGO — A Riverside County man on probation for burglary when he and two others broke into Del Mar Heights Elementary School and stole iPads and other electronic devices, was sentenced Friday to four years in state prison.

Thomas Earl Burleson, 21, was convicted last month of burglary, receiving stolen property and possession of burglary tools.

Despite saying Burleson is a gang member, prosecutors dismissed an allegation before trial that the school break-in was committed for the benefit of a street gang.

Superior Court Judge Louis Hanoian denied a defense request to “strike” Burleson’s 2012 burglary conviction, noting his criminal history — which includes robbery and auto theft – dates back to 2006.

“You steal to support yourself,” the judge told the defendant. Hanoian refused to impose an aggravated sentence of six years requested by prosecutors, calling Burleson’s latest brush with the law an “average crime.”

The defendant’s fiancee, Tamara Wright, who is due to give birth to Burleson’s child in October, begged the court for a more lenient sentence.

“I want him (the defendant) to be a part of my child’s life,” Wright told the judge.

Burleson reiterated that he wanted to get out of custody as soon as possible to be with his fiancee and baby.

“I know that what I did was wrong,” Burleson told the court.

Co-defendant Trevor J. Williams, also 21, was sentenced earlier this month to seven years behind bars and Eyon Zimmerman, 19, was sentenced to five years in prison in connection with thefts at nine San Diego County schools over a two-month period. Both defendants pleaded guilty to burglary charges, and admitted the gang allegation.

Authorities said the thefts began last Nov. 18.

Some of the defendants used their cell phones in the area of the schools the nights of the break-ins, according to previous court testimony.

The defendants were arrested Jan. 30 at a Temecula-area Border Patrol checkpoint. The iPads stolen from the Del Mar school earlier that morning or the night before were recovered from the defendants’ car, along with a laptop computer, bolt cutters and a projector.

Graduate Law Clerk Meredeth Kimble, arguing for the prosecution, told the judge that break-in at the Del Mar school was well-planned, with the defendants driving from Riverside to San Diego to commit the crime.


  • iMan9796

    This same disgusting thievery is commonplace at the Port Authority Bus Terminal in NYC when it comes to lost & found property. The pubic must be aware of the crimes that are being committed against them when their lost property is stolen from the PABT's Lost & Found Dept. by Port Authority Bus Terminal Supervisors. Google  “Donna Lebourne abc news." & see the vile face of shame being confronted & exposed. Click on the link below.

    Port Authority Supervisor Donna Lebourne has an outside job, she is the Vice President of her & her husband’s charity Caribbean Sports International that donates cellphones & other electronics.  If you lost an item at the Port Authority Bus  Terminal and did not get it back, contact her charity, perhaps she may donate your item back to you out of the kindness of her heart. By the way, wouldn't that be a conflict of interest being that she supervises the Lost & Found Dept. at the Port Authority Bus Terminal? 

    It would be nice to see the Port Authority aggressively go after the criminals and their enablers that they employ who engage in these same disgraceful crimes and even worse criminal acts, i.e. the unconscionable and highly illegally procedure of throwing valid lost passports found at the PABT in the garbage, for anyone to find & use for their nefarious purpose in this age of global terrorism and rampant identity theft. 

    Action must be taken against these corrupt incompetent criminals in the Port Authority by local, state or federal officials and/or agencies before another terrorist attack takes place & more innocent lives are lost due to their blatant utter disregard for our safety & security. Google “found, stolen, trashed by PA.”  click on the link below.

    No one should be above the law no matter who they work for.

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