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Affidavit: Vegas man stole electronics from WLV Head Start program

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By Ryan Lowery

A Las Vegas man is facing 36 criminal charges, including 18 felonies, after police say he broke into West Las Vegas Schools’ Head Start buildings and stole tens of thousands of dollars worth of electronics and tools.

Gary E. Lucero Jr., 25, was arrested July 3 and booked into the San Miguel County Detention Center after a warrant for his arrest was issued on June 26.

According to the arrest affidavit filed in San Miguel County Court, police say Lucero broke into the WLV Head Start buildings three times from June 18 through June 23. Las Vegas Police were first called to the Head Start administration buildings the morning of June 18 for a report of a break-in at one of its three buildings.

West Las Vegas Schools Superintendent Chris Gutierrez told the Optic the break-in was discovered when an employee arrived at the building and noticed items missing and a screen removed from a window.

Police say footage from security cameras shows Lucero attempting to gain entry to the building using an “unknown tool,” and when that didn’t work, Lucero climbed through a window of the main building. Police say the camera footage shows him leaving the building with two large items, later identified as a 60-inch Smart Board — an electronic, interactive whiteboard — leased to the district and valued at $8,000 to $10,000, and a 40-inch computer monitor valued at more than $800.

Police say Lucero returned on June 21 and entered a different building, again through a window.

The building was empty because it was under renovation, but police say Lucero then entered a third building, also through a window. Camera footage shows Lucero exiting the building through a door while pushing a trash can on a dolly. Police say the trash can was filled with items, including tools, six Microsoft Surface tablets, six keyboards and six stylus pens. The combined value of the items was estimated to be worth more than $11,000.

Lucero returned again later and was seen on video leaving with a lawn mower and a large bag. The lawn mower and contents of the bag are valued at about $15,000.

Police say Lucero stopped on his way out to wipe the door handle with his sleeve in an attempt to “destroy possible fingerprints he may have left.”

Superintendent Gutierrez said the district takes measures to prevent burglaries like these, but that it’s hard to be prepared for every crime.

“If they want to break in and steal things, then even with security alarms, well, they’re still going to do it,” he said.
Gutierrez said at this point, the district has not recovered any of the missing items.

“It’s still under investigation,” he said, “so there’s not much we can really tell you.”

The case is likely headed to trial following a hearing on Wednesday where Lucero and his public defender waived the right to a preliminary hearing.

However, a trial date has not been set.

Lucero was granted a $10,000 cash or surety bond, but as of this writing, bond had not been posted and Lucero was still in custody at SMCDC.

Lucero has previous convictions for use or possession of drug paraphernalia, resisting arrest and aggravated battery.