Three of five convicted in school burglary

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015. Aaron Humes Reporting: Of the five men charged for the July 8, 2011 burglary of computers from Salvation Juan BardalezArmy Primary School on Orange Street, three have been found guilty and sentenced to prison time.

Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser has sentenced 20 year old Juan Bardalez, 19 year Charles Middleton and 23 year old Elmer Linarez, while finding nineteen year old Dixon Montero not guilty of burglary and not guilty of handling stolen goods. The charges against the fifth defendant, 21 year old Cruz Allen, were withdrawn.

The five were initially arraigned for burglary and handling stolen goods after police were able to get credible information including confession statements from them – particularly Middleton, just 15 at the time.

Linarez was absent from court and will serve 2 years for handling stolen goods, while Charles MiddletonBardalez who was also charged with one count of handling stolen goods was sentenced to the same time.

Middleton, the alleged ringleader who admitted to the act, was sentenced to 3 years for burglary but found not guilty of handling stolen goods. The lighter sentences are due to the age of the perpetrators at the time of the incident; if they had been adults the sentences would have been stiffer.

During trial several witnesses linked Middleton, Bardalez and Linarez to the crime scene.  Middleton himself, as did Linarez, gave the police a caution statement in which each man implicated themselves as having been involved. Two other male witnesses for the prosecution testified that Middleton sold them computers that were stolen from the break in at the school computer lab.

Bardalez and Linarez assisted police in recovering the stolen items. Charles DixonHowever, the witness who claimed to have seen Montero present during the burglary did not appear in court to testify.

Bardalez is presently serving a 5 year jail term for another burglary; today’s sentence runs consecutively to that conviction.

Montero meanwhile is on remand for an alleged shooting incident and Middleton is on remand for a recent murder incident where he and another were charged jointly with murder.

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