Surveillance cameras stolen from Gilroy middle school

Two male thieves stole six surveillance cameras from the South Valley Middle School campus in the early morning hours June 26. The cameras are valued at nearly $4,000, according to police.

GILROY—South Valley Middle School is in the dark after nearly $4,000 worth of surveillance equipment was stolen from the campus June 26, Gilroy Police Department Sgt. Royce Heath said. Two unidentified males clambered onto the roof around 2:15 a.m. and pried six cameras from their housing under the cover of darkness.
But one thief was caught on camera doing it.
The GPD is releasing the surveillance photo in hopes both thieves, one whose age is estimated to be between 13 and 18 and another unknown male, can be identified.
A moment before the theft of one of the cameras occurred, it captured a full-color shot of the face of one of the suspects. Another camera got a shot of the other suspect’s clothing as he climbed the roof of the school at 385 IOOF Ave., Heath said.
“If you know these two young men, please do the right thing and have them return the equipment and/or let us know who they are,” reads a post on the Gilroy Police Department’s Facebook page.
The crime—grand theft due to the value of the property—involved a monetary loss of $3,750 by South Valley Middle School, Heath said. Each camera taken was valued at $625, he added.
It will cost the Gilroy Unified School District even more—close to $4,000—to replace the cameras and the equipment and installation costs will be  taken directly from the General Fund, District Superintendent Debbie Flores said.
“If the person/s responsible are caught, then we will take steps to ensure that the district is reimbursed for the costs,” Flores said.
All six cameras provide an extra eye in the sky at the campus, which record and monitor the activities at the campus, the police sergeant explained.
The June 26 incident is the largest incidence of surveillance camera theft in recent memory, Heath added. Neither Flores nor Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Alvaro Meza have encountered this type of theft throughout their careers, the superintendent added.
“We’ve had cameras vandalized, but not six stolen,” she said.
Heath added, “We have had surveillance camera thefts in the past, but not specifically at a school and not this high of a number of cameras to the best of my knowledge. We have the occasional camera stolen off a business and we’ve also had them stolen from a residence.”
For the thieves, the fact they were caught on camera stealing the pricey bits of technology doesn’t help any.
One person commented on the GPD Facebook page: “Give yourself up now while you can. This is an excellent photo!”
Police are urging anyone with information about the theft to call the Gilroy Police Department at (408) 846-0350.
“The cameras are there to protect the school and its students and the safety of our kids and property is paramount,” Heath said. “Obviously the theft of those cameras inhibits our ability to do that.”

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