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Wednesday, Oct 22, 2014
Pasco Tribune

Teens accused of stealing computer equipment at Pasco schools


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Deputies have arrested two teenagers in connection with a burglary ring that stole Apple products from Pasco County schools.

The suspects, both 17-year-old males, are accused of breaking a glass window and prying a lock to get into Chasco Middle School in February. According to a complaint affidavit, they stole about $6,000 in computer equipment. A stolen iPod taken during the burglary was found at one of the suspect's homes.

The teens are also charged with burglarizing Calusa Elementary School in May. According to the affidavit, they used a baseball bat to break a window and get inside the school's computer lab, where they took four iMac computers. One of the teenagers is accused of using the bat to destroy a security camera and later threw it in a nearby lake.

The burglaries happened between October and March, and more than $172,000 in electronics was stolen from Ridgewood High School, Calusa and Chasco elementary schools and Chasco Middle School, according to a release.

Sheriff's office spokesman Doug Tobin said the Pasco County School District recently added surveillance cameras and other security measures, which helped police make the arrests.

"Sometimes we have information about someone, but we don't have enough evidence to make an arrest or get a conviction," he said.

He said having video footage and extra security measures might help secure a conviction.

The most recent arrests bring the total number to seven. Five people were previously arrested in connection with the school burglaries.

In March, authorities arrested 19-year-old Alexis Rafeal Ortiz and charged him with burglary of an unoccupied structure or conveyance. According to a complaint affidavit, he was one of four people who broke into Ridgewood High on Feb. 27.

An iPad, 34 MacBook computers and 37 iPods were all stolen from the school. The value of the stolen electronics was about $70,650.

Jonathan Allen Cordon, 23, 10800 Darius St., Port Richey, was arrested in April for knowingly pawning an Apple MacBook stolen during one of the burglaries.

Cordon's roommate, 25-year-old Joseph Matthew Moore, was arrested in February for selling a MacBook from Calusa Elementary.

Two 17-year-old males were arrested in March and April in connection with the Ridgewood High School and Chasco Middle School burglaries.

astewart@tampatrib.com

(813) 371-1859

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