Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputies arrested a security guard at Lakeview Junior High School in Santa Maria early Thursday on suspicion of stealing items from a case containing Robin Ventura baseball memorabilia.
Sheriff’s Department spokesman Drew Sugars said deputies responded shortly after midnight Thursday to an alarm in the gymnasium at the school, 3700 Orcutt Road.
Sugars said deputies found that the display case had been broken into and missing were several items of baseball memorabilia that had been signed by Ventura, a retired Major League Baseball player and current Chicago White Sox manager.
It wasn’t clear how many items had been stolen, but several items had been put in a trash can next to the display case, according to Sugars.
Deputies searching the school grounds were approached by a security guard, identified as 21-year-old Cameron James Taylor of Santa Maria. He had been assigned by his employer, Overland Security Services, to guard the school grounds overnight before Thursday’s outdoor eighth-grade promotion ceremony.
When asked for identification, Taylor walked with deputies to his car. As he was bending over inside the vehicle, deputies saw a baseball in his jacket pocket that, upon closer inspection, featured an autograph by Ventura.
According to Sugars, deputies also found a piece of the broken display case lock in Taylor’s front pocket.
Taylor was booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail on charges of felony burglary and petty theft. Bail was set at $20,000.