Convicted computer thieves sentenced on thefts and related serious crimes, instructional technology recovered, following successful efforts by Detroit Public Schools Police Department and Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office

Two individuals who pleaded guilty to multiple computer thefts from Detroit Public Schools received sentences in Wayne County Circuit Court following investigative work by the DPS Police Department (DPSPD) and strong cooperation from the Wayne County Prosecutors Office. The convicted felons were guilty of additional charges, one involving firearms and the other involving the home firebombing and attempted murder of seven members of a witness’ family.

The number of computer thefts has sharply decreased in DPS in recent years, from more than 5,000 annually prior to 2009, to 259 during calendar year 2012, of which 73 were recovered. A total of 554 devices have been recovered since mid 2009.

On Wednesday, Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Richard Skutt sentenced Cornelius Johnson, the leader of an organized gang that repeatedly broke into the Detroit Public Schools for the purpose of stealing computers, to one year in the Thumb Correctional Facility, restitution and court costs after being convicted of entering a Detroit Public School without breaking, larceny from a building, and felony firearms.

For several weeks in late October, DPSPD Investigative Operations attempted to identify the members of the gang by reviewing surveillance videos from the victim schools after concluding that the same individuals were involved in repeated incidents. Johnson was arrested on October 21 inside a school, at which time three stolen Netbooks and five stolen desktop computers, as well as two firearms, were recovered.

Last month, Judge Carole Youngblood sentenced Lewis Raymond Buyck to 10 months to 10 years, along with restitution to DPS of $17,000, for the theft of 30 Apple Macbooks, and concurrently up to 30 years for the firebombing of a home of a witness and her six children. Fourteen DPS computers were recovered in this case.

“As a result of some outstanding police work by DPSPD patrol officers responding to the break-ins, and the investigators who handled the investigations, we were able to take two violent, and dangerous felons off the streets of our city,” said Chief Roderick Grimes. “Stealing from a school is stealing from our children. This department will deploy all resources available to protect the assets which will assist the children in receiving a quality education, and bring perpetrators to justice who may attempt to steal them.”

“The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office is proud of the prosecutions of thieves preying upon DPS schools. We will continue to work in collaboration with DPS to address this problem. These types of thefts jeopardize the future success of Detroit students and will not be tolerated,” said Prosecutor Kym Worthy.

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