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A man accused of burglarizing the Palo Alto home of the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs appeared in court today but did not enter a plea. Kariem McFarlin, 35, appeared in Santa Clara County Superior Court in Palo Alto with his newly hired attorney, James Kellenberger, who requested a continuance on his behalf. McFarlin has been charged with burglary and selling stolen property, both felonies. Police said that on the night of July 17, McFarlin broke into the unoccupied, under-renovation Waverley Street home of Jobs, who died last October after battling pancreatic cancer.
McFarlin is accused of taking a number of items from the home. Along with high-tech devices like iMac computers, iPads and iPods, he is accused of stealing a soda maker, a blender, Cristal Champagne, a Prada bag, an Armani watch, the key to a Mercedes, more than $50,000 worth of Tiffany jewelry, and the late Jobs’ wallet, which contained his driver’s license and credit cards, the police report said. According to police, McFarlin said he was having money problems, was sometimes living in his car, and had begun stealing from under-construction houses, initially in San Francisco.
McFarlin, an Alameda resident, was arrested after investigators located him by tracking the usage of the stolen devices. Upon his arrest, police said, McFarlin confessed to the crime and told investigators that he wanted to write a letter of apology to the Jobs family and that he had burglarized the home because he was desperate. Police said McFarlin told investigators he didn’t know the house belonged to Jobs until he saw a letter addressed to him in the house. McFarlin is scheduled to return to court to enter a plea on Sept. 19.
After today’s hearing, Kellenberger declined to discuss his client’s case with reporters. Deputy District Attorney Tom Flattery, who is prosecuting the case, also declined to comment other than to express concern about McFarlin’s ability to get a fair trial because of the high profile nature of the case. McFarlin is a former San Jose State University student who graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in kinesiology in 2004. He is being held in Santa Clara County Jail in lieu of $500,000 bail.
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