St. Ignatius Dean, Principal Nab Suspected Thief on Campus

Two school administrators are being credited with not only cracking the case, but chasing down the suspect

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The dean of students at St. Ignatius College Prep cracked the case and the principal tracked the fleeing suspect down. Jean Elle reports. (Published Friday, Mar 22, 2013)

    High school students in San Francisco are calling their principal and their dean of students heroes.

    The pair managed to catch a suspected iPad thief on the St. Ignatius High School campus.

    But it wasn't easy.

    The investigation lasted ten days and ended with a successful foot chase across campus.

    Dean of students Bill Gotch said a little over a week ago he realized iPads were disappearing at an alarming rate on campus.

    He narrowed down the time students were reporting them missing and worked up a description of the suspect.

    On Thursday afternoon he spotted some on campus that fit the description. He has been identified as 27-year-old Gabriel Ruiz Vega of South San Francisco.

    Gotch said Vega was dressed like a student, but he didn't seem to fit in - so he started asking some questions.

    Gotch said red flags were waving, "I asked him why he was on campus and his answers weren't making sense."

    Gotch escorted the man inside the school and while he was calling police principal Patrick Ruff and others were keeping an eye on him in the hallway.

    That's when they said Vega took off running with principal Ruff in hot pursuit. The chase spanned much of the campus. "I was right behind him the entire time, kept trying to get him. He wove through kids and through track practice. They were stunned," Ruff said.

    The chase ended at an 8-foot fence.

    "He was right at the top I grabbed his legs and pulled him down," Ruff said.

    Police took Vega into custody and said they recovered seven iPads and one wallet from his bag.

    Ruff says the serial numbers on the iPads proved they did indeed belong to his students.

    While no one was hurt, and stolen items were recovered, police still advised the principal that chasing suspects is better left to police.

    Friday night's school dance the theme was super heroes.

    At the entrance Mr. Ruff's face was glued to Superman.