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Thieves Target CUSD Schools, 3 in Laguna Niguel

In a series of break-ins, 17 CUSD schools have been hit since summer began. Deputies have made one arrest.

Summer is out and apparently, so are the thieves who are stealing thousands of dollars in electronics, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. 

Officials report that 17 schools in the Capistrano Unified School District have been hit hard, with three of those schools in Laguna Niguel: and

Deputies have made one arrest and continue to seek other suspects, said sheriff’s spokeswoman Gail Krause. Arrested is Diego Armando Avila Magana, 23 of San Juan Capistrano. The Orange County Superior Court website lists nine counts of second-degree burglary for Magana in connection with thefts dating far back as Feb. 24. He pleaded not guilty on July 5.

In addition to the Laguna Niguel schools, five schools in San Juan Capistrano, five schools in Mission Viejo, and four in Aliso Viejo have been broken into, since June 21 Krause said. Portable classrooms have been a favorite target.

“Some schools were burglarized more than once. The total loss has been several thousands of dollars in electronics and video games/systems,” Krause said.

The Sheriff’s Department put a number of schools in South County under surveillance this weekend. It was not immediately known if the arrest was tied to the effort.

“There has been one arrest made, but the case is still open,” Krause said.

The schools hit in San Juan Capistrano were and the four public elementary schools: , , and .

The five Mission Viejo schools broken into were Capistrano Valley High School, Carl Hankey K-8 and three elementaries: Bathgate, Viejo and Castille.

Aliso Viejo’s four schools targeted were Don Juan Avila Middle School, Wood Canyon Elementary, Oak Grove Elementary and Aliso Niguel High School.

The released this statement:

The district continues to work with law enforcement to prevent further break-ins, and ask members of the community to help us keep an eye on our schools sites over the summer break. If our neighbors see suspicious activity at one of our schools, they are asked to immediately contact law enforcement.

Anyone with information regarding the break-ins is encouraged to call the Crime Stoppers tip line at (855) TIP-OCCS.

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