Janitor arrested in laptop theft - East Valley Tribune: Mesa

Janitor arrested in laptop theft

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Posted: Wednesday, October 4, 2006 10:46 pm | Updated: 3:28 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

A Mesa High School custodian was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of stealing 31 laptop computers from the school's Biotechnology Academy and trying to sell each one for $100, officials said.

Altogether, the computers have an approximate value of $40,000, Mesa police said.

John Jay Brown, 18, of Mesa, was booked on one count of theft of controlled property. Brown was arrested after Mesa police received information that a custodian had been involved in the crime.

School officials said the laptops were used by students and didn't contain any sensitive information.

According to documents in North Mesa Justice Court, Brown admitted to police that he took the Dell laptop computers on Sept. 28 from the school at 1630 E. Southern Ave. He told authorities that he had left open a door to a computer room he had been asked to clean and removed the laptops from the school.

Kathy Bareiss, a spokeswoman for Mesa Unified School District, said the high school is working with police to retrieve the property.

Police said they recovered 12 laptops in a search of Brown's apartment. Brown also turned over $444 in cash that he said were proceeds from sales of five or six computers. He told police he had asked a friend to sell another 13.

Brown is a part-time custodian at Mesa High School and has been working in that position since being rehired Aug. 17.

Bareiss said officials did a background check when he was originally hired as a part-time custodian in May.

A review will determine if he will face disciplinary action, which could include termination, Bareiss said.

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