Suspect arrested in burglary of Encinal School


A burglary at Encinal Elementary School at 195 Encinal Ave. in Atherton led to the arrest of a Redwood City man two blocks away from the school around 7:30 a.m. Friday (Aug. 20).

Police arrested and booked into San Mateo County jail Joseph Figueroa, 23, on charges of commercial burglary and vandalism, Lt. Joe Wade of the Atherton Police Department said. Figueroa did not resist arrest and was not carrying weapons, Wade said.

The incident began with a construction worker confronting the suspect and asking him why he was on school grounds, Wade said. The suspect replied that he was looking for his skateboard.

The suspect left the campus, but seemed to be "acting kind of funny" by the worker, who called police with a description of the suspect after finding evidence of vandalism -- a screen on a classroom window that had been cut with a sharp object.

Police arrested Figueroa two blocks away on James Avenue. While driving back to the school, a detective discovered a trail of items believed to be from the school, including colored dice, crayons, playing cards and a bag of candles-- "Nothing that was worth a ton of money," Wade said.

Police also found a skateboard and a backpack believed to belong to Figueroa, Wade said. The candles are believed to have been taken from a science classroom on campus, Wade said.

The worker identified Figueroa as the suspect, Wade said.


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