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Janitor at Reynolds High School arrested

Jesse Lee Snyder is accused of stealing more than $40,000 of electronics from the school


A 31-year-old man who works as a custodian is facing criminal charges after detectives linked him to multiple thefts from Reynolds High School, police said.

Jesse Lee Snyder

Sgt. Steve Bevens said detectives arrested Jesse Snyder as he showed up for work Wednesday afternoon.

Bevens, a police spokesman, said Snyder had heroin on him when he was arrested.

Andrea Watson, a spokeswoman for the school district said the district hired Snyder on Oct. 24, 2011. Watson said that the district will be starting the disciplinary process, which likely will include termination.

Snyder worked as the afternoon-shift custodian, Watson said.

Police believe that he used that position to his advantage because he had access to the school up until 11 p.m., Bevens said.

Watson said several high-value items were reported missing this fall when teachers returned from their summer break. She said the items included televisions, laser projectors, Apple computers and digital cameras.

Watson said at the end of each school year electronics are inventoried. When the teachers returned for this school year they reported several items missing.

Police said Snyder started stealing the items over the summer and continued up until Monday. Officials estimated the loss of property to the school to be anywhere from $40,000 to $70,000.

Bevens said once Snyder stole the items from the school, he would drive them to a local pawn shop in Southeast Portland in exchange for cash. Officers believe Snyder was stealing the items to feed his drug habit.

Police were able to link Snyder to the pawned items because he used his driver’s license as a form of ID while in the pawn shops, Bevens said.

Working with the school resource officer from Reynolds High School, detectives said they were able to see Snyder enter a classroom and then leave a short time later with several concealed items, Bevens said. The video footage shows Snyder loading the items — which are believed to be electronics — into his car, Bevens said.

When detectives questioned Snyder, he confessed to the crimes, Bevens said.

Officers went to a home in the 9200 block of Southeast Harrison Street in Portland to look for evidence, Bevens said. According to police, they found several items inside the basement that they believe belong to Reynolds High School. Officers said Snyder was living at the home and used it to store some of the stolen items.

No one answered the door at the home when KOIN-TV stopped by Thursday morning.

Police arrested Snyder on 11 counts of second-degree burglary, one count of theft by receiving, one count of first-degree theft and one count of possession of heroin.

According to court records, Snyder is scheduled to appear for an arraignment in Multnomah County Court on Thursday.

Detectives spent much of Thursday looking for another suspect who maybe tied to the case, Bevens said. The second suspect is believed to have helped Snyder load the electronics into his vehicle, Bevens said.

story contributed by Brent Weisberg of KOIN-TV.



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