39-year-old Jon Eipp of Novato, California, pled guilty on Monday to charges including computer theft, his defense in a pending jury trial on those claims having been somewhat weakened by evidence that he stole six computers from the courthouse during the trial.
Eipp was being tried on charges stemming from a robbery at Portal Communications in Ignacio, California. Eipp and a friend had stolen computer equipment from the business but were caught when burglar alarms went off. Eipp made bail and so was still free during his trial, which started last week. After hearings on Wednesday, police said, Eipp apparently hid somewhere in the courthouse until most people had gone home, then tried to steal six computers and monitors by rolling them out of the Novato Civic Center in a recycling bin. He was actually stopped on the way out but the workers could not confirm he had stolen the computers and they let him go. (See, out here we recycle day and night. Nothing unusual about it.)
The theft was confirmed the next morning when investigators reviewed the surveillance camera tapes. By that time, Eipp was easy to find because he had already been arrested again after trying to steal a car in nearby San Rafael. On Monday, Eipp pled guilty to the charges (old and new), citing a change of heart, and possibly also motivated by having been caught on film stealing the same product from the courthouse.
"It just amazed me that someone could be in the middle of a jury trial for a burglary involving computers and immediately get involved in another [computer] burglary at the Civic Center," said Sgt. Jerry Niess, who has not been blogging about this kind of thing for a while now and is therefore more easily amazed by it. Eipp explained to reporters Monday night (in an interview at the county jail) that he stole the computers "for personal reasons." As in, wanting to have personal possession of them. No, wait: "I needed help," Eipp said, "and I didn’t know how to ask for help." And I guess, in my crazy way, [putting six computers in a recycling bin and trying to sneak them out of the courthouse] was my way of asking for help." He continued, "A lot of things are going crazy in my life. I was losing control. It probably doesn’t make a good story, but it’s the truth." Actually, Jon, the truth usually makes the best stories.