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School location means susceptibility to vandalism, investigator says

Posted: March 3, 2014 5:27 p.m.
Updated: March 3, 2014 5:27 p.m.

A lack of surveillance equipment and a concealed point of entry make Castaic Middle School an easy target for vandals, says the detective heading the probe into the school district’s third case of vandalism in two months — and the second at Castaic Middle School.

“This is likely to happen without surveillance and with the way the school is situated,” said Sgt. Dean Currie of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Career Offender Burglary Robbery Apprehension Unit, or COBRA team.

“The layout of the school is that it backs onto a row of houses,” Currie said Monday about the school’s location. “So any kind of visual is not very good.”

Castaic Middle School was hit by vandals late in February for the second time within two months. The vandals broke into and trashed a classroom, coating the walls and floors with fire extinguisher powder, spreading glue and paint around the room and sprinkling Cheerios cereal into the mess.

The school had previously been vandalized Jan. 25. And on the weekend of Dec. 21, vandals damaged Castaic Elementary School, spraying fire extinguishers around classrooms and smearing food on the desks.

The year has already seem a string of school vandalism and theft in the Santa Clarita Valley. School district-owned buildings near Canyon High School were hit Jan. 22-23 with exterior walls spray-painted; equipment was stolen from Pinetree Community School and truck batteries were taken from the Santa Clarita Valley School Food Services Agency.

The William S. Hart Union High School District equipped its campuses with surveillance cameras in 2009 to ward off school vandals and also to monitor school campuses during times of crisis.

A Castaic Union School District official said the attacks were mystifying.

“We have no theories whatsoever,” district spokeswoman Lisa Bloom said Monday. “These kinds of things do happen, not just to Castaic.”

School officials think the three incidents may be the work of the same vandals, since “the circumstances sound very similar,” she said.

“The sheriff is taking it very seriously,” Bloom said.
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt




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