Suburban Crime Round-Up: Thieves steal school’s solar panels; former WC worker gets jail time; St. Mary’s rape arrest

From my Saturday morning perusal of the Contra Costa Times:

(As much as many like to say that newspapers and journalism are a dying industry, where would I be without them? Stealing stories from them and all. Oh, and I’m still an old-fashioned gal. I pick up my actual print versions of the Times and the San Francisco Chronicle–which may soon close–from the driveway each morning and sit and drink my coffee and scan through them. It’s a different experience than reading the news online, not necessarily superior, just different.)

Anyway, onto the crime stuff:

Thieves still $87,000 worth of solar panels from Stanley Middle School in Lafayette: This is low, very low, on several points, but we’ll name two. First, stealing any equipment or causing any damage to a public school is plain rotten. And, second, stealing equipment that is designed to help the school do something good for the environment is rotten times two.

Teachers returned to the Lafayette middle school from the four-day Presidents Day weekend and soon realized that thieves had damaged the roof and stolen newly installed solar panels–before the school had the chance to turn them on. Oh, and to add insult to injury, the thieves also used a school van to cart off their haul.

Former WC employee says wife’s health problems forced him to steal: Jeffrey Tarpley, 59, was sentenced to 90 days in jail after pleading no contest to embezzling about $150,000 from the Heather Farm Park swim center, where he worked as a recreation specialist. Tarpley, a 19-year employee of the city before his 2007 arrest, was also ordered to pay restitution. Tarpley told the judge at his sentencing that he regretted stealing and was filled with remorse.

The father of two said his family began to have financial troubles in 2001 when his wife experienced heart problems and had to stop working. His home has since been foreclosed.

St. Mary’s College sophomore arrested in rape: A 20-year-old student at the Moraga college was arrested Friday on suspicion of raping another student last month. The female victim identified Blake Johnson as her assailant; he was arrested and booked into County Jail in Martinez.

3 thoughts on “Suburban Crime Round-Up: Thieves steal school’s solar panels; former WC worker gets jail time; St. Mary’s rape arrest

  1. I am Blake Johnson and I am being accused of a crime I did not commit. I want to scream my innocence from the top of Mt Everest and tell the world. I have faith that the truth will come out in time, but at the moment, my family and I are experiencing undeserved pain and suffering. I am not mad, or angry, I am just deeply hurt that someone could do this to me. anyone that knows me well enough knows I would NEVER do such a thing. My goal is not to persuade, but to express my anguish in these hard times. I want to thank everyone that has been so supportive, and let them know that I will get through this. Again, despite the turn of events, I have done nothing wrong and am severely suffering from this allegation. Unfortunately this is a long and expensive process, but patience is a virtue, and I know in my heart of hearts that God will not let an innocent college student suffer any more than I already have. Peace and love to all. – Blake Johnson


  2. Mr. Johnson,Thank you for posting and sharing your thoughts on this allegation against you. If you are innocent, then I’m very sorry for what you and your family are having to deal with. Yes, you’ve entered a long and VERY expensive process. (Been there, done that with a family member.) The charge against you is very serious, as you well know. And you probably feel that, in the court of public opinion, you have already been convicted. I care very deeply about justice being served and hope that the system will allow the truth to come out in your case.


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