By Leo Herbstman, staff writer
By Sam Leitch, copy editor
An unidentified man broke into the Maria Carrillo High School auto shop, stealing a Kawasaki KX250 dirt bike on Saturday night, Jan. 18.
The night before, Friday Jan. 17, the man walked to the theater courtyard and waited there before eventually leaving, according to Assistant Principal Albert Ettedgui’s summary of the security footage. At around 8 a.m. Saturday morning, he peeked through windows near the walled section of the auto workspace. Climbing onto the dumpsters, he cleared the wall and kicked in a PlexiGlass window in the garage door, diving head-first through the opening and into the shop.
He eventually came out at around 9:30 a.m. with wet hair, which caused Ettedgui to speculate the suspect might have washed it in the auto shop sink. The door in C4 that the suspect used to exit the auto building was equipped with an alarm, which alerted a district representative who decided not to dispatch Santa Rosa Police Department. The man walked around the quad until a bystander who was walking their dog saw him and called SRPD, prompting the suspect to leave before the police arrived.
At approximately 11 p.m., the suspect returned and scaled the dumpsters again to re-enter the auto shop. He exited at around 1 a.m. Sunday struggling to pull the Kawasaki dirt bike behind him, which auto teacher Drew Zapadinski estimates to be valued at $4,000-5,000. Auto student Christian Cambron brought the motorcycle to class Friday afternoon because it wouldn’t idle, hoping to use the shop’s tools to clean out the carburetor.
The alarm went off again as the man left through C4, but the district representative chose to not alert the police a second time, and the suspect walked the dirt bike off campus.
Zapadinsky explained that the suspect would face difficulty selling the bike, which was reported as stolen, or selling the engine and frame, which are marked individually, but the rest of the parts could be salvaged and sold. He added that some tools had been reported stolen from the class before he arrived, but no one has been identified for taking them.
“It puts a damper on what we can do in the shop,” Zapadinsky said, explaining that his other students are now hesitant to bring in their vehicles under the threat of another possible burglary. “What if it was a Harley and they were down $30,000?”
Cambron has searched for the dirt bike, including on websites like Craigslist, but has found nothing. “The bike had a special connection to my family,” he said. “It was me and my dad’s bike. It was one of the only things that survived the fire.”
“If you find my bike, please tell me. It would mean a lot.”