Burglary suspect arrested in Encinal School case | February 20, 2019 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


News - February 20, 2019

Burglary suspect arrested in Encinal School case

by Angela Swartz

Atherton Police Department detectives arrested an 18-year-old San Jose man on Feb. 14 for allegedly stealing about $14,000 worth of iPads and MacBooks from Encinal School in December, according to a police press release.

The suspect, Valdemar Gabriel DaRocha, was arrested in San Jose around 11:20 a.m. after a search warrant and other investigative work led officers to him, police said. People returned two iPads to police after they purchased them through DaRocha's Facebook account, and DaRocha sold all the other stolen items, police allege.

The search warrant was issued on Dec. 12 by Judge Mark Forcum in San Mateo County Superior Court, Atherton police Sgt. Anthony Kockler said in an email.

"The Search Warrant was issued to search the Facebook account of DaRocha," Kockler said. "The information obtained showed photos of some of the stolen items for sale."

Sometime between Dec. 1 and 3, a window at the Atherton school was smashed, and six laptops and eight iPads were stolen from a classroom, according to police and the Menlo Park City School District.

The stolen electronics were replaced, school district spokeswoman Parke Treadway said in a Dec. 11 email. "The district is insured for the loss, and teaching was able to continue uninterrupted," she said.

DaRocha is in San Mateo County jail and faces burglary and possession of stolen property charges, police said.

Atherton police also arrested a 50-year-old Gilroy man for alleged grand theft, forgery and mail theft in San Jose on Feb. 13, according to a police press release.

The suspect removed a personal check from an Atherton resident's mailbox, altered it and deposited it (via a mobile app) in his name for $600 in November, police allege. He is suspected of possibly stealing a check from a resident in another city as well, Kockler said.

Investigators used Bank of America ATM videos to determine the suspect's identity, according to police.

Police do not believe either of the suspects were involved in the town's recent residential burglary spree.

Editor's note: The Almanac's policy is to withhold the names of those arrested for most crimes until the district attorney has determined there is sufficient evidence to file charges in the case. We are naming the suspect in the Encinal School burglary incident because sufficient evidence was presented in Superior Court to secure a search warrant in the case.


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