Man gets prison for ransacking home tented for fumigation

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Salvador Amador Padilla

SAN DIEGO — A man who broke into a home that was tented for fumigation, ransacking the residence before fleeing with clothing and jewelry, was sentenced Tuesday to nearly three years in state prison.

Salvador Amador Padilla, 34, pleaded guilty in April to one count of residential burglary and one count of attempted residential burglary for trying to break into a second home.

Deputy District Attorney Gordon Davis told Judge Michael Groch that the victims in the Jan. 11 break-in had installed a home security camera system the day before they left their North Bay Terraces residence while it was being fumigated.

While monitoring his home from his National City hair salon, the resident noticed some movement in the residence and drove there to investigate, but the intruder got away.

Authorities were able to link Padilla to the burglary through fingerprints taken from a television that the defendant had dismantled in a bedroom, Davis said.

The defendant was arrested after he was seen driving around the area of the second attempted break-in on Feb. 9, according to the prosecutor. Officers recovered a black bag containing burglary tools and a respirator mask.

Stolen property from five other open burglary cases was found in Padilla’s residence, but authorities weren’t able to charge the defendant with those crimes due to a “slip-up” in the evidence, Davis said.

Padilla systematically broke into people’s homes while they were most vulnerable, the prosecutor told the judge.

“He’s a predator,” Davis said.

Padilla’s attorney said his client’s problems were linked to a 20-year addiction to methamphetamine.

The defendant apologized to the victims saying, “It’s going to haunt me for the rest of my life. I wasn’t brought up that way. It wasn’t me, in a sense.”

One of the victims in the North Bay Terraces burglary, Mercedes Baugh, said her home was “gutted” by Padilla.

”It hurts,” she said. “I lost a lot.”

The judge, in denying probation, noted Padilla’s crimes were both sophisticated and serious. Groch sentenced Padilla to the lower term of two years and eight months in prison.

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