Wednesday, June 28, 2000

3 boys held in school vandalism

Damage may exceed $60,000

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer Contributor

        TRENTON — Three boys face criminal charges in connection with a weekend vandalism spree that damaged almost every classroom at Babeck Ele mentary School.

        Two 11-year-olds and one 12-year-old are each charged with one count of vandalism and one of breaking and entering, said Trenton Police Officer David Rosenfelder.

        They will appear before Butler County Juvenile Court Magistrate John Bruewer for a preliminary hearing Monday, said Toni Pagano, administrative services coordinator for juvenile court.

        The boys will remain at the Butler County Juvenile Detention Center until the hearing, Ms. Pagano said.

        One boy was enrolled at Babeck; the other two attend Edgewood Middle School, police said.

        Police estimated damage at $60,000, but said it could go much higher.

        “They went through the entire school and damaged things,” said Jim Patrick, Edgewood's project manager, who is overseeing class room additions and renovation work. “They went through every room and made a mess of it.”

        After a tip Saturday afternoon, police arrived at the school to find one of the boys still there, Officer Rosenfelder said. They had entered the building through an air-conditioning duct. A resident near the school called police.

        Mr. Patrick said school officials found about a dozen new windows smashed, fire extinguishers discharged, graffiti spray-painted, book cases and file cabinets overturned, and floor patching material poured into new heating/cooling units.

        Computers, fax machines, copiers, VCRs and other equipment also were damaged.

        School crews and contractors have been working since the weekend to clean up the mess, said Ron Sur face, interim assistant superintendent.

        He said the damage should be covered by insurance and isn't expected to delay the renovation work that began about three weeks ago. However, it did divert school crews from other work that needed to be completed this summer.

        “We're going to wait until the courts are finished with the boys and then decide if we'll take any disciplinary action,” Mr. Surface said.


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