Arroyo Grande athletes face burglary charges
May 10, 2010
Arroyo Grande police last Friday asked the San Luis Obispo District Attorney’s office to file criminal charges against six junior varsity baseball players and a junior varsity track team member at Arroyo Grande High School, who are suspected of participating in a string of burglaries.
Police filed a request that five of the students, all of them 10th graders, be charged with burglary, possession of stolen items and conspiracy. One of the remaining suspects faces charges of conspiracy and possession of stolen items and the last charges of conspiracy.
Sources tell CalCoastNews the students began their criminal spree at Arroyo Grande High School nearly three months ago. The athletes would sneak into their fellow students’ backpacks and then either keep or sell their booty through Craig’s List, sources said.
The thieves then started to ditch school in order to break into other students’ homes while the unsuspecting occupants were at work and school. The crime spree ended when a parent arrived home to find three of the alleged thieves actively involved in an alleged burglary, police said.
The students suspected of wrongdoing won’t be identified by CalCoastNews because they are minors.
Arroyo Grande High School Athletic Director Dwight MacDonald said the students were suspended from their teams for the rest of the season. Players were moved from other school sports teams so that the partially decimated baseball team could finish out the season.
The students were not only star athletes, but excellent student with some on the honor roll. Their parents include a school teacher and a police sergeant, CalCoastNews has learned.
None of the students had prior records of trouble.
Police Cmdr. Chuck Gerhart noted that the parents took responsibility for their childrens’ actions and returned most of the items that were taken from the five homes they burglarized.
“I was very pleased to see parents stepping up and taking responsibility and holding their children accountable,” Gerhart said. “Often I see parents try and explain away the behavior of their children.
“These parents stepped in right away and got the property back to its owners. What is probably going to happen is the district attorney will send notices to the parents to have children in court on this date.”