SANTA CLARITA–Spring break has been associated with many illegal activities, but stealing from elementary schools isn’t usually one of them. But two male suspects allegedly did just that after they robbed four schools between March 29th and April 5th while students, faculty, and staff were on spring break. Shortly after the LASD released photographs and surveillance footage taken during the final heist, 20-year-old Gonzalo Ortiz and a 17-year-old juvenile male were arrested on April 19th, according to a press release from sheriff’s deputies.
The suspects targeted four schools in the Santa Clarita area: Old Orchard Elementary School, Sierra Vista Junior High School, Newhall Elementary School, and Hart High School. As the suspects forced entry and ransacked offices and classrooms, the suspects stole laptops, computers and a television. While the exact value of the stolen property was not released, the LASD press release asserted it was “a substantial loss for the school district.”
During the Hart High School robbery, a security camera caught footage of one of the suspects, who was seen on tape wearing dark clothing, a beanie, and white sneakers. A little over a week after the images were released to the media on April 10th, deputies received enough information from the public to arrest Ortiz and his accomplice.
Ortiz, a suspected gang member from Santa Clarita, is currently being held without bail due to an immigration hold. He is scheduled to appear in the North Valley Superior Court on May 1st.
After the arrests, detectives continued to follow the leads obtained throughout the investigation and recovered some of the stolen property.
In a statement, Captain Paul Becker of the Santa Clarita Valley’s Sheriff’s station simultaneously condemned the alleged burglars’ actions and praised the community for their assistance.
“We will not tolerate criminals victimizing our schools and disrupting the educational process,” said Becker. “We will utilize our school and community partnerships and available resources to apprehend and prosecute these individuals. The safety of our schools is always a top priority for the men and women of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.”
Signalscv.com: Arrest made in Santa Clarita spring break school burglaries