Parent charged in Guilford laptop theft

Published: Friday, February 6, 2009
By Rachael Scarborough King, Register Staff

GUILFORD — Police Thursday arrested a West Haven woman in the theft of six laptops from local elementary schools late last year.

Eliana Perez, 25, is a parent in the Guilford public schools, according to the school district.

Perez faces charges of third-degree burglary, third-degree larceny and second-degree criminal trespass related to four incidents at Calvin Leete School, Guilford Lakes School and Abraham Baldwin Middle School.

The laptops were taken from unlocked classrooms at the schools Dec. 4, 11, 17 and 18, according to police. Each was worth about $1,000, and police later recovered two, but do not expect to recover the other four.

The school district had issued the laptops to teachers, and Superintendent of Schools Thomas Forcella said last month the computers did not have sensitive information on them.

Forcella said Thursday that Perez has at least one child, who may have a parent who lives in Guilford, in the school district.

The first theft, at Calvin Leete, occurred on a day when school was not in session, but there were workers in the building, while the other incidents took place after school.

Teachers noticed that Perez looked out of place in the schools, leading police to focus on her as a suspect, Forcella said.

He added that since the thefts, the school district has implemented several safety improvements that had been in the works before the incidents.

“We have installed at four out of the seven schools electronic swipe-card entrance to the front door and the recess doors,” he said. “As of the February break, three of the schools will be utilizing the swipe cards by staff.”

The swipe-access system will allow teachers to lock doors when they leave the building. Abraham Baldwin Middle School is also set to serve as a pilot program for a buzzer system that would require all visitors to ring it at the front door.

Teachers were also reminded to keep their doors locked following the thefts.

Perez was arrested Thursday morning on a warrant and released on a promise to appear in Superior Court in New Haven Feb. 17.

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