Guards Linked to Thefts at California School

HESPERIA - Two school security guards suspected of doubling as thieves are waiting to see if charges will be filed against them.

School district Police Chief Bob Mosley said Bradley Clement and Edward Roque, who worked for a security firm Hesperia Unified hired to protect its facilities, made off last year with thousands of dollars in cash and electronics.

Police found money and other stolen items while searching the homes of the two men in December, Mosley said.

Authorities may press charges against Clement and Roque as early as this week, Mosley said. The chief said he is waiting to discuss the case with a prosecutor who was not in the office Tuesday.

Sergio Martinez, a third guard, is also a suspect, Mosley added.

Police say Clement, Martinez and Roque helped commit a string of thefts that occurred last year across Hesperia Unified.

School officials say they aren't sure when the thefts began. But when the frequency of complaints about missing items began to increase, police became suspicious.

Police investigated in the weeks before winter break and found many more incidents had gone unreported.

A laptop would disappear from one school, $10 from another. The burglars were discreet, careful not to steal in bulk, police said.

Mosley said police had reason to believe guards were the culprits. Security workers were supposed to stay outside the buildings, walking the school grounds, but they often deactivated alarms that were meant to keep burglars out, Mosley said.

Then, schools installed surveillance cameras that caught guards in action - stealing.

Among items police say they recovered from the homes of Clement and Roque was a laptop computer that was a graduation gift for a student at Mojave High School.

Sandi Utter, a bookkeeper at the school, said scholarship funds and donations paid for the laptop, which was a present for a favorite teacher's assistant.

"It was amazing that we got it back," Utter said.

"Oh my gosh, we were so happy because we're a very small school, and we don't have the resources that the other high schools do."

The laptop was in a cabinet in Principal Bill Fagan's office when it went missing. Nothing else was taken from the room, Fagan said. The computer on his desk remained untouched.