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Off-duty guard accused of stealing laptops from Facebook offices

September 26, 2012 |  6:40 am

Facebook office
An off-duty security guard for Facebook was one of two people arrested after allegedly stealing 49 laptops from the company's former headquarters in Palo Alto, police said.

Brandon Simon, 20, and Travis Calhoun, 21, both of Sunnyvale, face charges of commercial burglary, grand theft, possession of stolen property and conspiracy, according to the Palo Alto Police Department.

Simon, the guard, was also arrested on suspicion of embezzlement and resisting arrest. Calhoun faces additional charges of possession of burglary tools and driving with a suspended license.

A private security guard called police about 1:30 a.m. Monday saying two masked men had just broken into the offices at 1050 Page Mill Road, Palo Alto police Agent Marianna Villaescusa said in a statement. The suspects were "removing property" when one made eye contact with the guard and both "immediately fled," Villaescusa said.

A police sergeant spotted a vehicle nearby matching a description given by the guard, with another vehicle close behind. After stopping the vehicles, officers found "bins of laptop computers" in the vehicle driven by Simon and a stolen license plate and burglary tools in the other, Villaescusa said.

Although Facebook moved its headquarters to Menlo Park last year, it still kept property at the old Palo Alto offices, authorities said. Simon "had knowledge about what property remained inside the building," Villaescusa said.

He also worked for the same company as the guard who called police, Villaescusa said. Authorities did not reveal the name of the company.

Investigators were also looking into whether the pair had attempted a burglary earlier. Facebook reported finding a broken window pane near an exterior door about 5:20 a.m. Sunday, Villaescusa said, and although no property was taken, Simon and Calhoun entered the building a day later in the same spot.


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Photo: Laptops were stolen from former Facebook offices in Palo Alto. Credit: Jeff Chiu / Associated Press.