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Four Auburn teens in jail for home break-in

Deputies arrested Chana students on campus
By: Jenifer Gee Journal Staff Writer
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Four Auburn juveniles are in custody after allegedly breaking into a Garden Valley home with guns and assaulting the resident inside. On Friday, authorities revealed that three males were pulled from class at Chana High School in Auburn Tuesday. A fourth was arrested in the Auburn area but officials could not comment further as to where. El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department detectives arrested them, according to Lt. Bryan Golmitz, spokesman for the department, in connection with a Sept. 25 home break-in. The juveniles allegedly broke into a home at about 11:50 p.m. on the 5900 block of Johntown Creek Road in Garden Valley. They reportedly assaulted a resident and ran out of the back of the house after stealing several marijuana plants from the backyard. Golmitz said investigators found at least three guns at the home in connection with the robbery and break-in. Deputies arrested 20-year-old Cool resident Louis Mendicino on scene. Mendicino was found in the driver’s seat of a Jeep parked in front of the home. The vehicle caught the attention of a deputy because it had duct tape over the license plate. Mendicino was booked into El Dorado County Jail on charges of first-degree robbery, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, battery, conspiracy to commit a crime and burglary. He remained in custody Friday on $255,000 bail. The Auburn teens were booked into juvenile hall in El Dorado County. While a specific list of charges was not available due to the teens’ minor status, Golmitz said they were arrested on robbery charges. As of Friday, they were still in custody, Golmitz said. “Based upon the alleged circumstances of them breaking and entering into a house with guns and committing battery and stealing, they’d be considered a risk to release,” Golmitz said. Golmitz said investigative leads and statements led detectives to arrest the four juveniles but could not elaborate further saying the matter was under investigation. Golmitz added that the four suspects knew the victim in some way. “It was not a random act,” Golmitz said. “The suspects had knowledge of the victim.” Stan Parker, assistant principal of Chana High School, said the three students were arrested quietly on campus Tuesday. Two of the males had been given bathroom passes and were outside in the quad when detectives arrived. Parker said he watched as law enforcement approached the two teens and then placed them under arrest. The third male was taken out of his classroom and then arrested. Parker said the fourth juvenile is a Chana High student but was not at school on Tuesday. While the arrests were made without any incident, Parker said students were curious and others upset by what happened. He said it became part of the day for staff to discuss what information they had with students. “We tried to talk to students about why someone would be arrested and what are the consequences for doing the wrong thing,” Parker said. He said counselors were busy Tuesday and Wednesday talking about the arrests with students. “Some kids were upset because they knew the kids well,” Parker said. “Our school’s counseling staff was busy that day and the next talking to students who were upset and concerned.” Jenifer Gee can be reached at jeniferg@goldcountrymedia.com.