Will Rogers Elementary - Santa Monica

The Santa Monica Police Department has stepped up overnight patrols around Santa Monica public schools after someone stole dozens of computers from two separate campuses.

On Sunday, March 5, at 8 a.m., officers responded to the report of a burglary at Will Rogers Elementary School at 2401 14th Street. Twenty desktop computers were stolen from the computer lab the night before, according to Lt. Saul Rodriguez. Rodriguez said several computers were recovered on school grounds later in the day.

Less than a week later, on Thursday, March 9, Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District received another blow. Police responded to a burglary report around 7:40 a.m. at Grant Elementary School at 2638 Pearl Street. The campus had been broken into the night before. The thief or thieves hit multiple classrooms, stealing at least nine desktop computers.

Police believe the two incidents are related.

“This is devastating to our students and staff to have learning tools stolen from our schools,” said Gail Pinsker, SMMUSD’s community and public relations officer.

Pinsker said the District is in the process of determining the value of the computers and working with their insurance company to replace them.

“We do have a deductible so that will also play a role in this process. The District now has to take money planned for other student programs or technology purchases and (instead) replace these computers,” Pinsker said.

On Friday, Superintendent Dr. Ben Drati sent a message to all staff telling them to take “extra security measures to secure belongings in your class or office.”

“Please lock up items such as laptops, other electronics and any other valuables in your class or office, if not taking it home at night,” the e-mail said.

SMPD’s Criminal Investigations Division property section is investigating both break-ins. Anyone with information should contact SMPD at (310) 458-8491.