Suspect charged in laptop theft has long rap sheet

By By Michael McFall

By Michael McFall

A suspected thief has a warrant out for his arrest for stealing a U laptop.

Ricardo Burnside, 56, is suspected of stealing a laptop and pawning it while pretending to be someone else. He was charged Tuesday afternoon in the 3rd District Court with theft by receiving stolen property and theft by deception, both third-degree felonies. Each count can be punished by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine8212;but statistically speaking, the charges are likely to be dismissed. Of the 25 crimes he has been charged with throughout his life, only two theft charges have stuck.

The charging papers show that Dec. 15, 2008, U psychiatry researcher Corinne Halls discovered that a black laptop was stolen from the School of Medicine mood disorder clinic. Three weeks later, Michael Witzel of Witzel’s Pawn in Salt Lake City had a man walk into his store with the laptop. The man said his name was Kamilo Lotokum, presented an I.D. to prove it, and sold the laptop to Witzel for $75, according to the charging papers. Police suspect Lotokum was actually Burnside.

Vail Kelcee, a forensic scientist in the Utah State Crime Laboratory, matched the fingerprints on the pawn shop’s receipt with Burnside’s fingerprints8212;catalogued from his previous run-ins with the law.

During the past 23 years, Burnside has been charged with 17 thefts, four forgeries and four robberies in the 3rd District Court, but the vast majority of them were dismissed.

Because he has been charged with the theft of the U laptop and a few standing theft charges are already against him that he hasn’t been to court for, he is subject to more severe consequences.

The District Attorney’s Office did not respond for comment.

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