BY LEE BROWN
Crime Beat News
BANNING, Calif. – After months of losing valuable equipment, including computers, printers and a photo scanner, management at the Banning Record-Gazette was going crazy.
Originally, there was suspicion that it was an “inside job,” according to police. The time frame dated back several months. Finally, a Record-Gazette employee decided to set up a sting of sorts. Connecting a computer camera that was trained on the newsroom area during the off hours, the employee discovered a crime in progress back on a Friday night in May.
The weekly newspaper, one of the oldest in the area, had been missing various items ranging from smaller value to the larger items that included computers.
Literally, just around the corner, the Banning Police Department responded quickly to the alert and caught two suspects, Christopher Jorden, 27, and Rebecca Shawver, 21, both of Banning. They caught the two attempting to steal equipment valued at $3,000, according to police reports. Both were booked into the Larry Smith Correctional Facility under suspicion of committing commercial burglary and conspiracy to commit burglary.
“We have no information, yet, on the other burglaries at the same location,” said Stephanie Colbert, a Banning police spokeswoman. “We’re still investigating those other crimes.”
On July 11, a felony settlement conference will be held to determine the fate of both Jorden and Shawver, who are charged only with the May crimes. It could happen that more will be known by that time, said Colbert.
“We’re still trying to piece together everything that happened,” said Colbert.
An FSC is a meeting between the district attorney’s office, the defense attorney and the judge in an attempt to negotiate a conclusion to the case. Said Colbert: “I have no idea how that’s going to turn out in this case.”