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Vandals trash special-needs, elementary schools

October 4, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Vandals target a school for special-needs kids and then go after the elementary school next door. It happened on La Cresta Dr. in Dana Point overnight Monday.

Authorities say up to 15 rooms at Richard Henry Dana Exceptional Needs Facility and at R.H. Dana Elementary School next door suffered vandalism.

One or more people entered through the roof, shattering skylights and leaving debris in a therapy pool used by special-needs children.

"At this point right now the motive looks like just to cause some serious damage to this classroom. And we may never know why," said Lt. Steve Doan, Orange County Sheriff's Dept.

Investigators were called after 6 a.m. Tuesday when the custodian arrived and discovered the damage.

Broken glass and food litters the kitchen floor. The oven is destroyed and white powder was everywhere from discharged fire extinguishers. Some computer monitors were broken. The vandals also smashed a fish tank, flooding the lobby.

Officials believe the suspects may have taken time to race each other in wheelchairs down the hallway.

At first glance, the principal says, one computer is missing as well as medication and a defibrillator needed for children with seizures. The $2,000 device was donated.

"To get that replaced, it's going to be -- I don't know, I don't know how we're going to do that," said school nurse Marianne Cole.

As the cleanup gets under way, authorities hope to identify those responsible.

"The people who did this, I hope they're found and held accountable," said R.H. Dana Exceptional Needs Facility Principal Judy Dore.

If you have information related to the case, contact the Orange County Sheriff's Dept. at (949) 770-6011.


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