News - August 25, 2010

Suspect arrested in burglary of Encinal School

A burglary at Encinal Elementary School at 195 Encinal Avenue in Atherton led to the arrest of a Redwood City man two blocks away from the school around 7:30 a.m. Friday, Aug. 20.

Police arrested and booked into San Mateo County jail Joseph Figueroa, 23, on charges of commercial burglary and vandalism, said Lt. Joe Wade of the Atherton Police Department. Mr. Figueroa did not resist arrest and was not carrying weapons, Mr. Wade said.

The incident began with a construction worker confronting the suspect and asking him why he was on school grounds, according to an account by Mr. Wade. The suspect replied that he was looking for his skateboard.

The suspect later left the campus, but was deemed to be "acting kind of funny" by the construction worker, Mr. Wade said. The worker called police with a description of the suspect after finding evidence of vandalism — a screen on a classroom window that had been cut with a sharp object.

Police arrested Mr. Figueroa two blocks away on James Avenue. While driving back to the school, a detective discovered a trail of items believed to be from the school, including colored dice, crayons, playing cards and a bag of candles, Mr. Wade said. "Nothing that was worth a ton of money," he added.

Police also found a skateboard and a backpack believed to belong to Mr. Figueroa, Mr. Wade said. The candles are believed to have been taken from a science classroom on campus, Mr. Wade said.

In a one-person lineup after the arrest, police presented Mr. Figueroa to the construction worker, who identified him as the burglary suspect, Mr. Wade said.


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