SLO High grads arrested for burning computer lab

December 8, 2016
Jacob Ruth, Cameron Bratcher and Michael Benadiba

Jacob Ruth, Cameron Bratcher and Michael Benadiba

Correction: All three suspects attended San Luis Obispo High, but only Jacob Ruth graduated from the school.

Following an overnight fire that destroyed the San Luis Obispo High School computer lab, police officers arrested three recent graduates of the school on felony charges of arson, burglary and vandalism.

Shortly after midnight on Thursday, firefighters responded to a fire alarm at building 800, which houses the high school’s computer lab. The firefighters saved the building, but the computer lab and its contents were a total loss, according to the San Luis Obispo Police Department.

While firefighters were suppressing the fire, dispatchers received a call from a resident of Alta Drive who reported seeing three men park their car and jump over a fence. The fence led to the scene of the fire, a police department press release states.

Officers responded and located San Luis Obispo residents Jacob Ruth, 19, Michael Benadiba, 18, and Cameron Bratcher, 18. Police detained the suspects, conducted an investigation and then arrested the men and booked them into the SLO County Jail.

Each of the suspects remains in custody with their bail set at $25,000.

An investigation is ongoing. Detectives are trying to determine whether the suspects can be linked to any other crimes involving arson or burglary.

The Facebook profiles of Ruth and Bratcher both state they currently attend Cuesta College.

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I don’t believe I condoned theit actions.

My point was that they are 18. I’m guessing nobody else made some seriously stupid decisions at that age.

Yes, they should pay and learn their lesson. It may be the most valuable one of their lives.

I agree, throwing them in a cell probably won’t work. But that’s the American way. Creates jobs, right? We love jails here.

Go ahead, down thumb me.

Most people make stupid decisions, especially when they are young adults. I don’t think calculated arson is a “stupid decision”, it is a cold, calculating choice.