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School burglary suspect arrested

Posted: Friday, Dec 7th, 2012

Jaime Mendoza

WATSONVILLE — Police have arrested a Watsonville man on suspicion of burglary at three Pajaro Valley Unified School District campuses.

Jaime Mendoza, 31, was arrested Friday at 9 a.m. at his Magnolia Drive home, said Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s deputy April Skalland. He was booked into Santa Cruz County Jail with bail set at $25,000.

On Nov. 27, deputies investigated burglaries at Mar Vista Elementary School in Aptos, Bradley Elementary School in Corralitos and Live Oak Elementary School where the crimes occurred. The spate of crimes included broken windows, crushed window screens, computers strewn about, computer connections and hardware tossed around and furniture overturned.

Investigators managed to collect enough evidence at the sites, including fingerprints, to make a breakthrough in the case, Skalland said.

On Friday deputies, assisted by Watsonville police, went to Mendoza’s house at 30 Mendoza Drive and arrested him without incident on suspicion of two counts of felony burglary.

“We’re really excited by this big news,” said Todd Livingstone, Mar Vista principal. “From what I’ve heard there have been at least 14 such burglaries in recent history with no arrests. So we feel very fortunate in this case — it’s a relief. I think getting the news out there about these burglaries really helped. One family came forward and donated a surveillance system to our school.”

Mendoza is currently on probation in Monterey County for theft related crimes, Skalland said.

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