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Grand Theft Arrest
updated: Jan 17, 2013, 1:06 PM

Source: Santa Barbara Police Department

Ari Benjamin Morguelan, age 33, of unincorporated Santa Barbara, was arrested for grand theft. Morguelan, a staff member of the Fielding Graduate Institute, stole a laptop computer belonging to a student and attempted to sell it on Craigslist.

On January 15, 2013 at 3:10 p.m., Santa Barbara Police Department Officer Doug Klug responded to the Doubletree Resort at 633 E. Cabrillo Boulevard to investigate the theft of a laptop computer approximately three hours earlier. The victim of the theft is a 28-year old woman from Des Moines, Iowa, who is a Fielding Graduate Institute student that was attending Institute seminars that were taking place in several conference rooms at the hotel. Her laptop computer, valued at $1200.00, was stolen when it was left unattended in a conference room over the lunch hour.

Doubletree Resort Security obtained security camera footage of the suspect in the incident entering the conference room where the theft took place and then exiting with the computer. A Fielding Graduate Institute executive that assisted with the investigation viewed the footage and identified the suspect as Morguelan. Morguelan is a staff member for the Institute's Marketing Department and was working at the seminars at the Doubletree.

Officer Klug discovered that Morguelan is a felony probationer with unrestricted search terms stemming from a theft conviction in Los Angeles County. Officer Klug contacted Morguelan at the Doubletree and questioned him about the incident. Morguelan acknowledged being on probation but denied any involvement in the theft. He even challenged Officer Klug to produce any evidence that implicated him in the crime. Invoking Morguelan's probationary search terms, Officer Klug first searched Morguelan's vehicle which was parked at the hotel but did not find the victim's property. However, upon looking through the contents of Morguelan's iPhone, Officer Klug found photographs of what appeared to be the victim's computer taken from inside of Morguelan's car. Additionally, upon looking at the phone's web browser, Officer Klug discovered that at 1:01 p.m. Morguelan had created a Craigslist posting, listing the computer sale for $900.00. Based on the totality of the evidence, Officer Klug arrested Morguelan for grand theft.

At 6:00 p.m. Sergeant Jill Beecher, Detective Greg Hons, Officer Tyler Larson, and Reserve Officer Don Dawes went to Morguelan's apartment on 200 Old Mill Road and conducted a probation search. Officer Larson subsequently found the stolen computer inside of the bedroom closet. The computer was later returned to the victim.

Morguelan was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on the aforementioned charge with a bail amount of $20,000.00.

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