Posted April 20, 2012
Bellevue police credit social media, Bellevue West students and the school's resource officer for solving a burglary case that involved thousands of dollars in stolen electronics.
Five young men were arrested Thursday, all charged with two counts of burglary and criminal conspiracy. They were identified as current Bellevue West students, 18-year-old Mathew Milos, 18-year-old Alec O'Daniel and 18-year-old Dale Stanek, and former students, 20-year-old Ben Frith and 20-year-old Daevion Timothy.
They are accused of using recycling bins to carry iMac computers and digital cameras from Bellevue West in two separate break-ins. Police said nearly all of the stolen items have been recovered. That includes 20 cameras and 22 of 24 stolen computers, worth more than $40,000. Police also confiscated the two vehicles believed to have been used in the thefts, the same vehicles seen on surveillance cameras.
“We can only assume they were trying to peddle it, sell it,” said Bellevue Police Chief John Stacey. “One individual was trying to sell one computer on the street and I think they were trying to put them on eBay as well."
Bellevue Police Officer Justin Larson played a key role in the arrests, using the surveillance video, social media and help from students to make the arrests. He was sure a few bad students were involved.
"Because they knew exactly where to go to get the equipment. They went to specific rooms and only went through certain areas of the building so I knew it had to be somebody with knowledge of the building."
All of the missing equipment caused quite a bit of worry throughout the student body, especially since the deadline for printing the school yearbook was nearing and a lot of memories were in the computers.
“Prom was a few weeks ago and so if you had those photographs in there you can't go back and recreate those irreplaceable pieces,” said Bellevue Schools Superintendent Frank Harwood. “Our yearbook staff almost wasn't able to have a yearbook, so there's a lot of upset kids at the school.”
All of the stolen equipment is now evidence, but school officials hope to at least recover pictures and stories in the computers in time for the printing of the yearbook.
28 iMac’s and 22 digital cameras were taken from the school in two separate incidents. It's a problem for journalism students who were putting together the yearbook.
“The yearbook is done on these computers and though we try to get students to save their work to servers as opposed to the hard drives some of the work is saved locally,” said Superintendent Frank Harwood.
Police are looking through surveillance video of the two incidents.
“It would appear that the people that were in there committing those burglaries knew where to go,” said Captain David Stukenholtz.
The first happened early Friday morning, when a car pulled up by the gym. Someone dressed in black clothing got out of a car with a spoiler on the back.
The second incident happened late Monday night when a truck pulled around the other side of the school. Both times the same classroom was hit, and the same items were taken.
“That is disappointing that somebody else sees that they have a greater need for that equipment than you did,” said Harwood.
Each stolen computer is worth about $1300, more than $36000 stolen total.
If you have any information you are asked to call Sarpy County Crimestoppers at 402-592-7867
The Bellevue School District is offering a $500 reward for anyone who comes forward with information that may lead to an arrest.
Designed by Gray Digital Media