MESA, Ariz. – A reward is being offered to help identify a suspect linked to a Mesa burglary.
Mesa police said sometime between noon on March 13 and 5:30 p.m. on March 14, an unknown suspect broke into a home in the area of Baseline and Alma School roads and stole numerous items, including a Dell Latitude laptop and an Apple MacBook Pro.
One of the computers contained several years of irreplaceable research data belonging to ASU Professor Milagros Zingoni.
"I need the data. Without my data, I cannot work," Zingoni told 3TV. The data includes a decade's worth of lectures and research for her courses at ASU's Design School. The family had their photos and documents backed up on a hard drive, but the thief stole that, too. "I now have no videos of my kids walking or learning to talk, and that's irreplaceable," she said.
On March 15, a man using the name Manuel Mendoza went to the Apple Store in Chandler Fashion Center, presented the MacBook as his own and requested to have the password reset but was denied, according to police.
Burch said the name was probably made up but could be a friend's name.
The suspect left the store in a silver Chrysler 300 with dark-tinted windows and a possible temporary plate in the upper left rear window.
Store employees wrote down the laptop's serial number so police were able to link it to the Mesa burglary.
Mall surveillance video shows the suspect entering the store.
"The suspect in the video may not necessarily be the same suspect who committed the burglary a day prior, may be his best friend, it may be someone that they're trafficking the stolen property," Burch said. "He's still guilty of a crime. He knows that property isn't his, it's stolen and he's taking care of it, trying to put his own password on it."
He is described as Hispanic, 20 to 25 years old, 5 feet 8 inches to 5 feet 10 inches tall, with a medium build and short black hair. He was seen wearing a white long-sleeved shirt, tan pants and black tennis shoes.
Anyone with information is asked to call Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS or 1-800-343-TIPS. A reward of up to $1,000 is being offered for information that leads to an arrest and/or indictment of the suspect or suspects.