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Thieves Target South County Schools

UPDATED. In a series of break-ins, 17 schools, stretching from San Juan Capistrano to Aliso Viejo, have been hit since summer began. Deputies have made one arrest.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Updated at 4:53 p.m. to include the name of the one suspect arrested.

Schools across the Capistrano Unified School District have been hit hard by thieves this summer, stealing thousands of dollars in electronics, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

Deputies have made one arrest and continue to see other suspects, said sheriff’s spokeswoman Gail Krause. Arrested is Diego Armando Avila Magana, 23 of San Juan Capistrano. 

Since school ended on June 21, five schools in San Juan Capistrano, five schools in Mission Viejo, four in Aliso Viejo and three in Laguna Niguel have been broken into, Krause said. Portable classrooms have been a favorite target.

“Some schools were burglarized more than once. The total loss has been several thousands of dollars in electronics and video games/systems,” Krause said.

The sheriff’s department put a number of schools in South County under surveillance this weekend. It was not immediately known if the arrest was tied to the effort.

“There has been one arrest made, but the case is still open,” Krause said.

The Orange County Superior Court website lists nine counts of second-degree burglary for Magana in connection with thefts dating far back as Feb. 24. He was arrested July 1 and pleaded not guilty on July 5.

The schools hit in San Juan Capistrano were and the four public elementary schools: , , and .

The five Mission Viejo schools broken into were , and three elementaries: , and .

Aliso Viejo’s four schools targeted were , , and .

Finally, the three Laguna Niguel schools hit were and

The released this statement:

The district continues to work with law enforcement to prevent further break-ins, and ask members of the community to help us keep an eye on our schools sites over the summer break. If our neighbors see suspicious activity at one of our schools, they are asked to immediately contact law enforcement.

Anyone with information regarding the break-ins is encouraged to call the Crime Stoppers tip line at (855) TIP-OCCS.

Dan July 11, 2012 at 01:43 AM
Video game systems?
Capo Parent Too July 11, 2012 at 04:17 AM
Video Game systems were stolen from after school programs, such as the YMCA.
Concerned Mom July 11, 2012 at 04:43 PM
The poor kids. First the cuts now this, they keep losing :(

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