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LAPD CATCHES SCHOOL BURGLARS IN ACT.

Byline: Phillip W. Browne Staff Writer

NORTH HOLLYWOOD - Undercover LAPD officers arrested three burglary suspects early Friday at Madison Junior High School as they loaded speakers, a stereo, video equipment and other items into a vehicle.

The suspects, ages 24, 23 and 15, could be responsible for as many as eight school burglaries and thousands of dollars in losses in the North Hollywood area, and possibly other burglaries throughout the city, said Los Angles Police Department Detective Ted Knott.

The suspects' names were not released for investigative reasons.

``There may be other suspects out there,'' Knott said during a news conference at the LAPD's North Hollywood Division. ``We believe there was a group of people stealing from the schools to get money to buy drugs.''

Knott added they are seeking several search warrants they expect to serve in the coming days.

Acting on an anonymous tip, LAPD detectives began surveillance on the burglars about midnight Friday and followed them to Madison Junior High School at 13000 Hart St.

Detective saw them enter the school, where they broke into three classrooms, Knott said. The trio was arrested about 2 a.m. as they began loading equipment into a vehicle.

``We caught them in the act,'' Knott said. ``We're very happy to have arrested them.''

The two adults were booked on multiple counts of burglary and were being held at Van Nuys jail. The juvenile was also booked on suspicion of burglary and was being held at Juvenile Hall.

Madison Junior High School Principal Joanna G. Kunes said she is pleased the burglars were captured and the equipment recovered. Schools are increasingly becoming burglary targets as they upgrade their equipment to provide state-of-the-art education, she said.

Phillip W. Browne, (818) 713-3707

phillip.browne(at)dailynews.com

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photo

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Detective Ted Knott at the North Hollywood Police Station unloads stolen stereo equipment from the car of three suspects arrested by undercover officers Friday at Madison Junior High.

Tina Burch/Staff Photographer
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Aug 14, 2004
Words:330
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