Police arrested Jaime Loya Maldanado, 20, of Menlo Park, in connection with all three burglaries.
Mr. Maldanado's reputation crosses county lines. Already on probation for possession of stolen property in Santa Clara County, he also faces charges for somehow acquiring 10 laptops stolen from the Palo Alto Unified School District, according to the San Mateo County district attorney's office.
Hillview Middle School on Elder Avenue suffered the loss of 26 iPads, worth a total of $16,000, on Sept. 9 after someone crawled through an unlocked classroom window, according to Menlo Park police, who got the call around 8 a.m. that day.
Four days later, police said they arrived at the German-American International School on Elliott Drive around 7:30 a.m. and found that burglars had crawled in through an unlocked window to decorate the school with spray paint and sharpie markers before leaving with $400.
Then, on Sept. 14, an alarm summoned Atherton police to Laurel Elementary School on Edge Road at 3:30 a.m., where they found two suspects with enough ingenuity to drape clothing over the jagged edges of a broken library window to avoid cutting themselves as they burgled, but without enough creativity to avoid arrest.
Atherton police said the presence of a police canine encouraged a rapid surrender. A 16-year-old boy, along with Mr. Maldanado, earned detention at the county jail.