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Vandals wreck classrooms, leave valuables

December 31, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
There's anger and confusion after vandals hit an Orange County elementary school. School staff can't believe anyone would deliberately destroy school property while ignoring valuables. Police investigators have some clues and hope to catch the vandals.Ten classrooms and the library suffered damage in Midway City, and officials say this is not the first time the school has been broken into. But the damage this time is by far the worst.

Michelle Sperling cleaned up what vandals left behind. Her kindergarten and first-grade classroom was turned upside down. She made the discovery Tuesday morning.

"To walk in at 8 in the morning and to see everything vandalized, it was so disheartening for me," said teacher Michelle Sperling. "They took paint and threw it on walls and a smart board, which is what teachers use for the students every day, and they ruined that. That's thousands of dollars."

Officials say 11 classrooms, including the library at Star View Elementary School in Midway City, suffered extensive damage, with repairs costing at least $50,000.

"There was a lot of graffiti written on the walls and some of the tiles in the ceiling were broken," said Officer Van Woodson, Westminster Police Dept.

White residue from a fire extinguisher covered the floor of one room. Police say the suspects entered by breaking a window and prying open doors.

"For such extensive damage to take place to 11 classrooms, we think there are at least more than one and possibly several people that took part in this," said Officer Woodson.

Police say the suspects left evidence behind, including footprints. Police have also dusted for fingerprints.

"It wasn't about the money, it wasn't about the goods, it was about destroying the school," said Sperling. "Just for fun, because they didn't steal computers, laptops, cash that was on the table."

As crews clean up the mess, teachers hope to have their classrooms back to normal before children return to school Monday.

"To do this to a public school ... there are no words to describe how angry I am at those people who did that," said Sperling.

If you know who may be responsible for the vandalism, call the Westminster Police Department at (714)898-3315 to give information, you can remain anonymous.


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