Arrests made in La Cañada High School burglary

Sheriff’s deputies have arrested three men for allegedly burglarizing La Cañada High School of approximately $25,000 worth of electronics shortly after midnight on Oct. 31.

Two of the suspects, Erik Howell, 20, of Glendale, and David Pinnell, 21, of Reseda, were arrested on Nov. 3 and arraigned in a Pasadena courtroom on Monday. The stolen items were recovered after a search of Pinnell’s home, according to Sgt. Ray Harley of the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station.

According to court documents, both men entered plea deals in which they were each convicted of one charge of felony burglary and sentenced to 180 days in L.A. County Jail plus three years’ probation. In addition, the men were ordered to stay away from La Cañada High School.

The third suspect, Tujunga resident Joshua Oleas, 21, turned himself in to the Crescenta Valley station on Nov. 8 and was released after posting $20,000 bail the same day.

An unidentified 16-year-old male Tujunga resident was also identified during the investigation and is being sought by detectives. Harley said that there is a possibility that additional suspects were involved as well.

Harley said that an investigation into how the suspects were able to gain entry to the school is ongoing, but confirmed that there was no sign of forced entry to the school, raising the possibility that the burglars had access to a key or keys to the school.

Mike Leininger, assistant superintendent of Facilities & Operations for La Cañada Unified School District, said Monday that in addition to the relief of recovering all of the stolen items, he was glad to discover that the burglars were not current or former students of LCHS.

“The good news is that we’re not after our own kids,” Leininger said.

The recovered items included two NEC computer projectors, one Hewlett Packard laptop computer and carrying case, 13 Mac laptop computers and $60 in cash for a class field trip. The initial theft report gave the value of the stolen electronics as $17,760, but Harley later reported a value of almost $25,000.

Leininger said that the school’s security cameras were a major help in the investigation, as there was surveillance footage of the suspects committing the burglary.

“The security cameras that we put in place worked,” said Leininger.

Anyone with information about this burglary is asked to contact the Crescenta Valley Station Detective Bureau at (818) 248-3464.

LCHS classrooms hit by burglars

-- Daniel Siegal, Times Community News

Editor's note: This story has been updated from an earlier version.

Copyright © 2019, La Cañada Valley Sun
EDITION: California | U.S. & World