Zynga thief avoids JailVille with guilty plea

A former Zynga temp worker who decided to make off with tens of thousands of dollars worth of company computers won’t face jail time after pleading guilty Wednesday to felony commercial burglary.

Keith Brown, 21, of San Ramon was arrested Nov. 15 after taking about 30 laptops from Zynga’s offices over two weeks, police and prosecutors said.

Confronted with surveillance video depicting the thefts, Brown told cops he’d been selling the computers to a San Francisco man he met online, police said. That man also was arrested.

Initial estimates valued the thefts at about $100,000, but that amount was later lowered to about $50,000, according to District Attorney’s Office spokesman Omid Talai.

Brown faced charges of grand theft, burglary, receiving stolen property and embezzlement before pleading guilty to the burglary charge. Under the deal’s terms, he will get three years’ supervised probation and 200 hours of community service, and pay restitution for the computers, 11 of which have been recovered.

“We are taking into consideration his age, his lack of any criminal history, and the fact that Zynga is both satisfied and feels this is an appropriate disposition,” Talai said.

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