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SCV school vandalism, thefts mount to thousands of dollars in recent losses

Investigators say events are unrelated; no arrests made so far

Posted: February 10, 2014 5:55 p.m.
Updated: February 10, 2014 5:55 p.m.

Several Santa Clarita Valley schools have been burglarized and vandalized over the past month in a series of attacks that investigators believe are unrelated, officials said Monday.

Thousands of dollars to replace stolen equipment and to repair damages have been incurred by three different school districts in the series of crimes, as well as the Santa Clarita Valley School Food Service Agency, which contracts with local school districts to provide hot meals on campuses.

No arrests have been made in the string of crimes, Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station Deputy Josh Dubin said Monday.

“We don’t think the crimes are connected,” Dubin. “All these cases are actively being investigated. When a school gets vandalized — obviously, it’s a serious thing.”

Dubin said he’s confident arrests will be made.

“We have school resource deputies who work hand-in-hand with school officials, and often, they know all the parents and kids,” he said. “And because of all their knowledge, we often have success (in making arrests).”

Canyon High School

Some time between 3:30 p.m. Jan. 22 and 8 a.m. Jan. 23, vandals defaced school district buildings near Canyon High School and caused nearly $1,000 damage.

The vandals spray-painted 15 exterior walls of an abandoned school building on Nadal Street at Whites Canyon Road near Canyon High School, according the deputy who investigated the incident.

“The area tagged at the corner of Nadal and Whites Canyon is the old location of Bowman High School,” said Gail Pinsker, spokeswoman for the William S. Hart Union High School District, noting the buildings have not been in use for more than 20 years.

“This is not considered part of Canyon High School,” Pinsker said. “However, since it is close to the school, when the visible graffiti was noticed from Nadal Street, the SCV Sheriff’s Department was contacted to take a report.

“It was painted over by Canyon High School custodial staff on the same day, which was overseen by the Hart district director of maintenance and operations.”

Castaic Middle School
On the weekend of Jan. 25-26, vandals trashed the Special Education preschool classroom on the campus of Castaic Middle School on Hillcrest Parkway in Castaic, said Lisa Bloom, spokeswoman for the Castaic Union School District.

The vandals set sprayed fire extinguisher fluid on carpets, “smeared food all over the desks” and set a fire outside the building, Bloom said.

She didn’t have a damage estimate at hand but said Monday carpets will have to be replaced because of the odor left by fire extinguisher fluids.

“There’s still an odor in there, so we moved the music teacher to another room,” she said. “We’re going to replace the carpet. The cost is mainly in labor costs.”

In December the Special Education classroom was similarly vandalized, with the vandals also stuffing toilets with diapers and toilet paper. No fire was set in that attack.

Pinetree Community School
Some time between Dec. 31 and Jan. 31, thieves stole projection equipment from Pinetree Community School — located on Lotusgarden Drive in Canyon Country — amounting to at least $2,160, deputies reported.

The theft was discovered during a monthly inventory of school supplies on Jan. 31. Stolen were two projectors valued at $680 and $890 respectively, as well as a $590 camera, deputies reported.

School Food Service Agency
Between 8 p.m. Jan. 24 and 6 a.m. Jan. 27, thieves stole eight truck batteries from the Santa Clarita Valley School Food Service Agency, which contracts with local public schools to provide breakfasts and lunches to students. Value of the stolen batteries was put at $2,000.

The stolen batteries did not prevent the food service agency from providing meals to all its schools, spokeswoman Nancy Haddock said.

“We managed to get all the food to all the kids,” she said Monday.

Anyone with information about the campus crimes was urged to call deputies at 255-1121.
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt




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