By Barbara Wood
Special to the Almanac
A former Menlo School assistant coach, who had chased down and captured a suspect in other campus thefts, is now himself the subject of an investigation connecting him to the theft of computers from students at the school, according to the Atherton Police Department.
A report to the Atherton City Council says that on Nov. 16, Michael Taylor, a baseball coach at Menlo, voluntarily came in to the Atherton Police Department and during an interview "confessed to Detective (Jason) Yoakum that he stole two Apple iPads from Menlo School students, while on campus."
The two iPads were later found in a search of Mr. Taylor's San Leandro apartment, the report says.
"Mr. Taylor was not arrested," said Atherton Sgt. Sherman Hall. "He co-operated with the investigation after being confronted with the allegations. The case was submitted to the San Mateo County District Attorney for prosecution."
When contacted, Mr. Taylor said he was surprised the Atherton police have released his name. "I haven't been arrested," he said. "I'm not a bad guy." However, he said, the Atherton police had told him not to talk about the case. "I'm not allowed to tell the full story yet," he said. "Whatever I say can be used either for or against me," if the matter ends up in court, he said.
Mr. Taylor was hired as an assistant coach by Menlo School six years ago, but is no longer working for the school, according to Jeanne Honig, Menlo School's human resources director. School officials declined to provide additional comment.
An article dated Nov. 10 on Menlo School's website describes how Mr. Taylor and a student helped catch two Menlo College students who were later arrested on suspicion of stealing backpacks on the Menlo School campus.
That article details how Mr. Taylor and the student saw the two suspected thieves take the backpacks and followed and confronted them.
Mr. Taylor said he chased one of the suspects down. "I followed him up the stairs and caught him on the second flight of stairs. Then I dragged him back out to the security guard, and Atherton [Police was there waiting for him," the article quotes Mr. Taylor as saying.
"Taylor's involvement in apprehending the Menlo College suspects was certainly an interesting aspect of our investigation," Sgt. Hall said. "We have no indication he acted in conjunction with the other arrested parties."
In the Nov. 1 incident, Raphael Daniel Bettan and Ryan Goodman, both 18, were arrested on suspicion of grand theft. Two iPads and other electronic items believed to have been stolen were later found in the college students' dormitory, according to Sgt. Hall.
Sgt. Hall said "there is still some unrecovered stolen property," from the recent reports of theft at Menlo School, however, "we are not pursuing any active leads at this time."