SLO High computer lab arsonist accused of serial shoplifting

April 26, 2019

Michael Benadiba

One of the three men convicted of setting fire to the San Luis Obispo High computer lab in 2016 returned to court this week for a shoplifting case in which prosecutors allege he stole hundreds of dollars worth of products from a liquor store and a supermarket. [Tribune]

Last May, Michael Benadiba, now 21, pleaded not contest to felony charges of recklessly causing a structure fire and second-degree commercial burglary over the blaze that destroyed the SLO High computer lab and caused about $1.8 million in damage. The following month, Judge Jacquelyn Duffy sentenced Benadiba to about five months in county jail and five years of probation.

But while sentencing Benadiba, Duffy warned him to refrain from alcohol use and to stay out of trouble. Duffy told Benadiba there are two paths he can go on and he should choose the right one.

Earl Conway III, Benadiba’s defense attorney, previously said his client would face up to three years in prison if he violated the terms of his probation. Benadiba, along with his co-conspirators in the arson case, still owe restitution, court documents state.

On Wednesday, the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s office charged Benadiba with eight misdemeanor counts of shoplifting. It is unclear what exactly Benadiba is accused of stealing, but the DA’s criminal complaint states some items were as cheap as $1.84, while the most expensive item was $222.84.

Benadiba stole $162.85 worth of merchandise from the liquor store Cork n’ Bottle on four separate occasions, and he also stole $467.06 worth of goods from California Fresh Market in four separate incidents, according to the DA’s office.

On Thursday, Benadiba appeared in court for an arraignment hearing in the shoplifting case but did not enter a plea. Sheriff’s deputies booked Benadiba in jail, where he currently remains with his bail set at $20,000, according to the sheriff’s office website.


I think you meant the tea party.


Would have quit while he was ahead.

nazbol gang

1.8 Million? What kind of computers were in there?


For that kind of $ they must have been Apples.

nazbol gang



I’m sure the taxpayers are on the hook for far more than they actually were worth.

fat chance

Not to bright….


Clearly he chose the alcohol path and now must face five years….or another 5 months as SLO see’s it!


lock him up……no, give him outpatient therapy, it was mommy’s fault