Thirty-four year old Cesar Monrroy, of Willcox, was sentenced Monday morning to seven and a half years in prison in connection with the September 2012 break-in at the Elsie S. Hogan Library.
Monrroy was convicted for three other incidents, as well, namely the burglaries of two homes and the Alco Store in Willcox, said Cochise County Deputy Attorney Daniel Akers.
He was sentenced “in accordance with the plea agreement,” resulting in a total seven and a half years in prison, followed by probation for a Class 2 felony, said Akers, adding that Monrroy will also be required to pay restitution to the individuals, the store, and the library.
Library Director Tom Miner told the Willcox City Council at its May 20 meeting, “Let me just say that after many legal ploys and delays, the burglar was afforded another continuance today by Judge (John F.) Kelleher, until June 3 at 8:30 a.m.”
“Perhaps some day, justice will prevail,” he added.
Monrroy was arraigned Oct. 15, 2012, in Division V of Cochise County Superior Court, in the courtroom of Judge James L. Conlogue.
According to court records, Monrroy was indicted by a grand jury Oct. 4, 2012, and the case was turned over to Akers as of Oct. 18, 2012.
A hearing to schedule the trial date was held Oct. 29, 2012.
“This was a hearing that addressed all three of his cases, and the purpose was simply to set trial dates,” Akers said at the time.
“The trials for all three cases are set for March 12, 2013, though, unless the cases are later consolidated, this date will change for two of the cases, since we can’t have three trials going simultaneously,” he told the Range News.
According to court records, a change of plea agreement was made on March 5 this year.
After three sentencing hearings in April and May which resulted in continuances, the next sentencing hearing was scheduled for 8:30 a.m., on Monday, June 3 in Kelliher’s Division II courtroom.
Miner said that more than $7,000 worth of computers was stolen after burglar(s) broke the back, west side double glass doors, possibly with a bat.
“The Library lost a total of 14 items that night, totaling $7,778.46, and three items were damaged, costing $266.19 in repairs,” he said.
The Willcox Police arrested Monrroy Sept. 26, 2012, and he was charged with four felonies – third degree burglary; possession of burglary tools, theft, and trafficking in stolen property, Miner said.
One of the laptops was recovered, but is being held as evidence in the upcoming trial, said Miner, adding, “None of the other property has been recovered.”
Then-Willcox Chief of Police Jake Weaver confirmed that one computer was recovered, but three are still missing.
“In order to preserve the integrity of any on going investigations, I can’t comment,” he said at the time.
Miner believes the target was the Advanced Workstation in Education (AWE), a computer with 50 programs in English and 30 in Spanish, that help children ages 2-8 learn.
“It has programs vetted and designed by teachers. Users specify what language they want and how old the child is and the computer will gear the program toward that child. It has a Y connection so a parent and child can listen with earphones and work together,” Miner said at the time.
“It’s not set up for the Internet and was not designed to be used with the Internet,” he told the Range News.
Worth about $3,500, the AWE was obtained recently through a grant.
Two other new laptop computers and one older computer, along with cooling trays, ‘mice’ and other equipment were also taken, and “the laptops needed bolt cutters to cut the cable locks,” he said.
“I’ve worked here 16 years here and I’ve never seen this happen at the library,” Miner said at the time.
“The irony is we were in the middle of installing security cameras – the last phase of our renovations,” he said.
At the Dec. 3, 2012 City Council meeting, Miner thanked Weaver “and his team at the WDPS for making an arrest within two weeks of the incident occurring, and for continuing to press on with the investigation.”
Miner also thanked then Public Works Director Dave Bonner “and his team for making the necessary temporary repairs to our damaged doors and windows so we could continue to be open and operate safely for the public the same day of the incident,and for coming back and making the final repairs in such a timely manner.”
Support from the community and others
Miner went on to say that “all in all, more good things have happened as a result of this burglary, than bad.”
He talked about the support the Library has received since the burglary from local community members, as well as both State and County Libraries.
“One of our patrons overheard our staff talking about the burglary one day, and she called me that afternoon and said something like, ‘I am on a fixed income, so it won’t be until October, but I am going to try and help raise some money to offset your losses. My family will hold a bake sale, maybe at ALCO’s parking lot, and I think some of my friends at church will help out, too,’” said Miner, adding,
“I choked up a bit at that point, and thanked her from the bottom of my heart.”
“Here is a person who loves their local library so much, that she would take part of her meager Social Security fixed income to help us out,” he told the Council.
“That clearly illustrates how important the library is to the people in this community. ”
“And she is not alone...The fine couple that run the local County Airport here, Jim and Louise Walden, saw the article in the paper and called me and asked if I could use a couple of extra computers on a ‘long-term loan’ here at the library,” said Miner, adding, “I owe them a debt of gratitude.”
“And it keeps getting even better,” he said.
Since nearly all of the library’s stolen equipment was purchased through grants, Miner notified both the County and State Libraries about the burglary.
He first thought that the City’s insurance deductible was going to be $1,000.
“I didn’t have an extra $1,000 anywhere in my budget, so I was lamenting the fact and wondering out loud how we were going to come up with it,” Miner said.
Cochise County Librarian Lise Gilliand replied, “Let me see if there is anything we can do down here. I’ll call you back,” he said.
“Sure enough, later that day she called and said, ‘Don’t worry, we’ll cover the deductible. The County will pay for it,’” said Miner, adding, “That clearly demonstrates the close cooperation and support that we get from Cochise County.”
Then, there was even better news – “when we looked more closely at the insurance certificates, the deductible is only $250, not $1,000, so it is a win-win for both us and the County,” he told the Council.
“This is by far the greatest library district I have ever worked with,” said Miner, adding, “But there is more.”
The day after the burglary, Miner had to attend a mandatory library statistics workshop in Tucson, which was taught by Librarian Laura Stone who “approves all of my LSTA (Library Services and Technology) and SGIA-C (State Grants in Aid) grants,” he said.
Miner said he told Stone about the burglary “since two of our stolen computers came from the BTOP1 (Broadband Technologies Opportunities) grant, and were just installed this past April – six months before the burglary.”
Stone frowned for a moment, and then said, “You know, Tom, I have a little bit of money left in the grant – about enough to cover two more computers. Maybe we can help each other...,” he told the Council.
“Well, of course I told her I was happy to help out any way that I could – plus, we really had no money in our budget to replace two computers worth $2,500,” said Miner, adding, “Have you ever seen a short fat guy do backflips?”
“This is another clear example of the support and cooperation this Library has received from the fine folks up at the State Library,” he said.
“Laura (Stone) has approved more than $132,500 in grants for us – Willcox – since I have been the Director,” said Miner, adding, “They all deserve a big round of applause.”
(Editor’s note: Managing Editor Ainslee S. Wittig contributed to this report.)