Suspect Wanted for Santa Barbara Area School Computer Thefts Arrested
Hemet CA- May 8th, 2013
After an investigation that took several months and involved numerous search warrants, Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Detectives tracked down 26-year-old Andre Clayton of Hemet, CA, who was arrested on May 5th in Hemet with the assistance of the Hemet Police Department. Clayton was a suspect wanted in connection with breaking into the computer lab at Vieja Valley School in Santa Barbara on January 24th and stealing $10,000 worth of computer equipment. He is also believed to be involved in two subsequent burglaries at Laguna Blanca School just days later on January 26th and on January 29th in which approximately $15,000 worth of computer equipment was stolen.
Clayton and other members of a documented gang out of Riverside County are suspected of committing school burglaries throughout Southern California beginning in November 2012. The investigation revealed that they came to Santa Barbara during their crime spree and specifically targeted Vieja Valley and Laguna Blanca schools. The suspects were after computers and high value electronic equipment. Clayton did not act alone and additional suspects are being sought.
The Vieja Valley school burglary occurred at around 3:30 in the morning on January 24th at the campus located at 434 Nogal Drive. The suspects broke into the school’s computer lab and took off with seven Apple computers and other equipment. Two days later, Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to Laguna Blanca School located at 4125 Paloma Drive in Hope Ranch. The computer lab had been broken into overnight and seven laptop computers and other equipment were stolen. On the 29th, the suspects returned to the computer lab at Laguna Blanca, broke in, and stole three iMac computers.
Evidence obtained during the investigation linked Clayton to the burglary at the Vieja Valley School. On February 13th, Sheriff’s Detectives served a search warrant on Clayton’s vehicle and found evidence further linking Clayton to the crimes, as well as a loaded handgun. A search warrant was served on March 12th at Clayton’s residence in Hemet, and additional evidence was seized.
Clayton is charged with burglary, committing a crime to benefit a street gang, being an active participant in a street gang, carrying a concealed firearm within a vehicle, being a gang member carrying a concealed firearm, carrying a loaded firearm and not being the registered owner, and being a gang member carrying a loaded firearm within a vehicle in public.
Clayton is being held on one million dollars bail at the Riverside County Jail. He is awaiting transport to the Santa Barbara County Jail.
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