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Officials recover more stolen computers
3 teens arrested Monday and facing charges
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Hall County Sheriff's Office recovered two more computers as part of its ongoing investigation into the recent break-in at Lyman Hall Elementary School.

Ten of the 12 laptops taken from a portable classroom at the Memorial Park Drive campus have been returned thus far, deputies said.

Investigators, who arrested three teens in connection with the burglary, are continuing their search for the two computers that remain missing.

The incident report listed the total value of the stolen machines at $13,000.

"It's an active investigation right now," said Col. Jeff Strickland, Sheriff's Office spokesman.
School officials acknowledged such burglaries are rare at Hall County Schools. Most suspect behavior involves writing on the bathroom walls, vandalism driven by sports rivalries between competing schools and student reports of missing property such as cell phones, said Lt. Gene Joy, commander of school-based services for the sheriff's office.

Joy and school resource officers work with administrators to quickly address such problems, especially those related to vandalism, he said.

When burglary cases occur, they are more damaging in terms of value lost in dollars as well as to students' education.

Losing all 12 laptops would've been considered a "very substantial" hit, said Gordon Higgins, Hall County Schools spokesman.

"Burglaries, fortunately, are infrequent," he added.

"But when they do (happen), they can have a significant impact."

A janitor at the school reported the break-in after he arrived to work the morning of Feb. 11. The portable classroom door had been kicked in, said Capt. Woodrow Tripp. An additional $300 in damage to a double-paned window was listed in the initial burglary report.

Investigators arrested three teenagers Monday in connection with the break-in, which occurred between school days.

Jose L. Rodriguez, 17, of Gainesville was charged with burglary, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and violation of the gang act. Five laptops were recovered from Rodriguez's car during the traffic stop leading to his arrest, deputies said.

The Gang Task Force helped identify and locate Rodriguez and two more suspects, Strickland said. He added they are members of the local street gang known as La Onda.

The two additional suspects, both 16-year-olds, were arrested at Kenwood Park where another three laptops were recovered.

The youths were charged with burglary, possession of marijuana, underage consumption of alcohol and violation of the gang act. They were released to their parents.

Investigators seized a number of items found in the classroom as possible evidence.

Included were a rubber flashlight, stocking cap, milk container, chewing gum package and beer bottle, according to the burglary report filed by deputies.


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