A staff member in Fielding Graduate Institute’s marketing department — who’s on felony probation for a Los Angeles theft conviction — was arrested Tuesday for allegedly stealing a student’s laptop and trying to sell it on Craigslist. Ari Morguelan, 33, was booked in Santa Barbara County Jail with bail set at $20,000.
According to SBPD spokesperson Sgt. Riley Harwood, a 28-year-old female student attending Fielding seminars at the Doubletree Resort called police when she discovered that her $1,200 laptop — left unattended in a conference room during the lunch hour — had gone missing. Upon review of security camera footage by authorities and a Fielding executive, Morguelan — working at the seminars that day — was named the suspect.
When an officer contacted Morguelan he denied any involvement in the incident, Harwood said. “He even challenged [the officer] to produce any evidence that implicated him in the crime.” Because of Morguelan’s probation status, the officer was able to search his car parked at the hotel, but he didn’t find the laptop, Harwood went on.
“However, upon looking through the contents of Morguelan’s iPhone, [the officer] found photographs of what appeared to be the victim’s computer taken from inside of Morguelan’s car,” Harwood said. “Additionally, upon looking at the phone’s web browser, [the officer] discovered that at 1:01 p.m. Morguelan had created a Craigslist posting, listing the computer sale for $900.”
Based on the the evidence, Morguelan was arrested for grand theft. Hours later, authorities searched his apartment on the 200 block of Old Mill Road and found the laptop in a bedroom closet. It was returned to the student.