A 20-year-old man is in custody Friday after feedback from Santa Clarita Valley residents helped local Sheriff’s Station detectives arrest a suspect in connection with a series of school break-ins.
Gonzalo Ortiz, 20, of Newhall, was arrested early Friday morning last week, as well as a teenager, said Deputy Josh Dubin of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.
“We will not tolerate criminals victimizing our schools and disrupting the educational process,” said Capt. Paul Becker of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.
He is being held in lieu of an $85,000 bail. He is not allowed to make bail because there is an Immigrations and Customs Enforcement hold on his record.
“We will utilize our school and community partnerships and available resources to apprehend and prosecute these individuals,” he said. “The safety of our schools is always a top priority for the men and women of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.”
Ortiz, a suspected gang member, was arrested along with a 17 year-old male, in connection with the school burglaries.
“(Ortiz) us being charged with one count of second degree commercial burglary and one count of resisting arrest,” said Jane Robison, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
“He’s pleaded not guilty, and his next court hearing is May 3,” Robison said.
Detectives believe Ortiz is the individual caught by a school security camera at Hart High School breaking into the campus during spring break.
On April 10, detectives from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station’s Career Offenders, Burglary and Robbery Apprehension, or COBRA, team asked for the public’s assistance in identifying two people of interest thought to be responsible for four separate incidents of school burglary that occurred over the spring break between March 29 and April 5.
There were four school broken into: Newhall Elementary, Old Orchard Elementary, Sierra Vista Junior High And Hart High School.
Detectives from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station followed several leads and investigative trails in the case, which led to Ortiz’ arrest, according to a Sheriff’s Department statement.
Detectives were able to use the information obtained from the public to develop suspect information.
“Fortunately, high resolution cameras on many of our school campuses are also assisting in making it extremely difficult for these late night criminals to get away without detection,” the statement read.
Sheriff’s Station officials also said after the arrests, search warrants were executed, which led to the recovery of some of the stolen property.
The investigation is continuing as detectives work to keep our schools and community safe.
Ortiz is still listed as in custody, according to the Sheriff’s Department website.
Ortiz is being held at the Pitchess Detention Center in Castaic.