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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.

Stolen iPads

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

SAN DIEGO — Two Riverside County men who admitted stealing iPads and other electronic devices from nine San Diego County schools over a two- month period were each sentenced to prison Friday.

Trevor J. Williams, 21, was sentenced to seven years behind bars and Eyon Zimmerman, 19, was sentenced to five years in prison.

Both defendants pleaded guilty last month to burglary charges, and admitted the crimes were committed to benefit their street gang.

A third defendant, 21-year-old Thomas Earl Burleson, was convicted of burglary and other charges at trial and is set to be sentenced next week.

Williams and Burleson are documented gang members and Zimmerman is a known associate, according to Deputy District Attorney Brendan McHugh.

The three were charged with breaking into classrooms at schools in Del Mar Heights, Cardiff, Lakeside and other communities, stealing iPads, laptop computers and other electronics. 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, McHugh said.

SAN DIEGO — Three Riverside County men accused in the thefts of iPads and other electronic devices from nine San Diego County schools must stand trial on charges of burglary and receiving stolen property, a judge ruled Thursday.

ipadsTrevor J. Williams and Thomas Earl Burleson, both 21, are documented gang members, and Eyon Zimmerman, 19, is a known associate, according to Deputy District Attorney Brendan McHugh.

The charges against the defendants include allegations that the crimes — which began Nov. 18 — were committed for the benefit of a gang, McHugh said.

After a daylong preliminary hearing, Judge David Gill ordered Burleson to stand trial on three counts, and Williams and Zimmerman to proceed to trial on seven and nine counts, respectively.

Burleson and Zimmerman face up to 14 years in prison if convicted, while Williams could face up to 13 years behind bars, said Deputy District Attorney Brendan McHugh.

All three are being held in lieu of $300,000 bail.

The trio allegedly broke into classrooms at schools in Del Mar Heights, Cardiff, Lakeside and other communities, stealing iPads, laptop computers and other electronics.

Some of the defendants used their cell phones in the area of the schools the nights of the break-ins, according to 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, McHugh said.

Burleson, Williams and Zimmerman will be back in court May 30 for a readiness conference. Trial was set for June 7.

 

SAN DIEGO — Three men caught with iPads stolen from a San Diego elementary school are part of a gang that may be responsible for similar thefts at 10 other schools, prosecutors said Friday.

Eyon Zimmerman, 19, Trevor Williams, 21, and Thomas Burleson, 21, were charged with multiple felony counts, in connection with a burglary at Del Mar Heights Elementary school on Jan. 30. The three men were arrested after their car was searched at a Border Patrol checkpoint on northbound Interstate 15 just south of the San Diego-Riverside county line. Agents allegedly found 29 iPad tablet computers, a Macintosh laptops and a projector in the trunk of their car. All the items had been taken a short time earlier from the school, prosecutors said.

The three men were charged with burglary, receiving stolen property, and allegations of felonies committed for the benefit of a criminal street gang, according to the District Attorney’s Office. Williams and Burleson are documented gang members in Riverside County, prosecutors said.

All three men pleaded not guilty to all charges.  If convicted of all the charges Zimmerman faces 13 years, Williams faces nine years, Burleson faces seven years in state prison.

Since January, eleven school burglaries have been reported in San Diego County, the DA’s office said. In all, thieves stole 123 iPads and 115 Apple laptops. Investigators, working with the DA’s office, the San Diego and Riverside sheriff’s offices, the FBI and local police have identified the Dorner Blocc Crips, a Riverside County gang, as suspects in the burglary series, the DA’s office said.

DEL MAR HEIGHTS, Calif. – Three men traveling north toward Riverside County  were arrested Wednesday after Border Patrol agents found 29 iPads  swiped from a Del Mar Heights school, police said.

trunktheftThomas Earl Burleson, 20, Trevor J. Williams, 21, and Eyon Zimmerman, 19, pulled into the Interstate 15 inspection station in a northbound Lexus shortly before 4 a.m., San Diego police Lt. Andra Brown said.

The agents decided to search the car because the driver was acting suspicious, Brown said.ipads

“During the search of the vehicle, they uncovered …  iPad computers,” said Brown.  “They all had the markings from Del Mar Elementary School.”

A MacBook laptop and a projector were also recovered in the car.  Agents quickly contacted the San Diego Police Department and officers were dispatched to the school.

“Officers got there and located one room that had clearly been broken into and they found property was missing,” said Brown.

Williams, of Moreno Valley, and Burleson and Zimmerman, both of Hemet, were arrested on suspicion of burglary and possession of stolen property.

Similar burglaries have also been reported in Lakeside, Poway, Solana Beach, Encinitas, Valley Center and two schools in Carlsbad.  The stolen items estimated to be worth some $200,000.

School

“There’s hope to recover other property if these suspects are indeed involved in the previous cases,” said Brown.

Whether this is the break police were looking for is still too early to tell, but neighbors near Del Mar Heights School told Fox 5 theft has been a problem in the past.

“We’ve had break-ins here in the neighborhood. Over 30 homes have been broken into last year,” said one neighbor, who didn’t want to be identified.

Residents also said perhaps it’s time schools step up their security.

“Make it less accessible.  That’s what you would do with any break in I would think,” the neighbor said.

SAN DIEGO — Three Riverside County men were jailed in San Diego Wednesday after allegedly getting caught at a Border Patrol checkpoint with more than two dozen iPads and other electronics stolen during a break-in at Del Mar Heights Elementary School.

Stolen iPads

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

Thomas Earl Burleson, 20, Trevor J. Williams, 21, and Eyon Zimmerman, 19, pulled into the inspection station on northbound Interstate 5 just south of Temecula in a Lexus shortly after 2:30 a.m., according to police.

During a search of the vehicle, agents found the 29 Apple iPad tablet computers, along with a laptop and a projector, and determined that they belonged to the elementary school, police spokeswoman Lt. Andra Brown said.

Williams, of Moreno Valley, and Burleson and Zimmerman, both of Hemet, were arrested on suspicion of burglary and possession of stolen property.

After being notified of the arrests, San Diego police learned that the Del Mar-area school had been broken into and looted sometime earlier in the morning or during the previous evening, Brown said.

Since late December, there have been a rash of school burglaries in San Diego County involving the theft of iPads and other Apple products. Investigators have not said if they believe Wednesday’s burglary is connected to the other thefts.

SAN DIEGO — Police detained three men after a burglary at Del Mar Heights School early Wednesday.

Police tell FOX iPad Thefts5 that Border Patrol agents stopped a car at the Temecula checkpoint on Interstate 15 around 4 a.m. In that car, they found more than 20 iPads, a laptop, a video projector, and other technology belonging to the school.

The three men were arrested, police say.

San Diego Police’s Northwestern Division Robbery unit is investigating.

This recent incident follows a string of other burglaries of schools in San Diego County. Investigators have not said if  Wednesday’s burglary is connected to that series.

ipadsSAN DIEGO – Burglars once again have stolen iPads from a San Diego County school — this time at a high school in Valley Center.

Late Saturday night, San Diego County sheriff’s deputies, and a police dog, responded to reports of strange noises at Oak Glen High School.

No suspects were found but a classroom door was discovered unlocked and 30 iPads had been stolen, said Sgt. Joe Ellis. Officials set the loss at about $15,000.

Similar late-night burglaries have been reported in recent months at schools in Lakeside, Poway, Solana Beach, Carlsbad, Encinitas, and Carlsbad, with the loss of iPads and laptops valued at more than $200,000. Most of the thefts occurred on weekends.

Read more at latimes.com.

ENCINITAS, Calif. – Ocean Knoll Elementary School was burglarized Sunday, making it the fourth school near Encinitas to be targeted in the past two weeks, according to authorities.

“Since November, we have had 12 to 14 of these burglaries going into middle schools and elementary schools,” said San Diego Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Jan Caldwell, who said the losses total more than $200,000.

ocean knoll elementary schoolOn December 30, about a dozen iPads valued at $6,000 were stolen from Cardiff Elementary.

The next night, Ada W. Harris Elementary School in Cardiff was burglarized and another dozen iPads were reported stolen.

Thieves broke into the computer lab at Skyline Elementary School in Solana Beach Friday. The damage on the door where the thieves smashed through the glass was still visible on Monday evening.

The school iPads often replace student textbooks.  They’re expensive to replace, so students will have to go without them for now.

“I think it’s a sad state of the world we live in when people go out and steal from children,” said Regina Connell, parent of Skyline Elementary student.

“Every time someone does something like that, whether it’s this type of a burglary or a bank robbery, they leave clues,” said Caldwell.

Anyone with information about the crimes should contact Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477.  Callers can remain anonymous and they could collect a $1,000 reward for details leading to an arrest in the case.

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