SANTA ROSA (CBS SF) – Five juveniles have been arrested in connection with a break-in at a school near Santa Rosa on Saturday in which classrooms were vandalized and a hamster was tortured and killed, a Sonoma County sheriff’s lieutenant said Tuesday morning.

The suspects, ages 11 to 14, broke into and vandalized a classroom at Northwest Prep, located at 2590 Piner Road in unincorporated Sonoma County west of Santa Rosa, Sgt. Mike Raasch said.

Two windows of an adjacent classroom were also broken, Raasch said.

The classrooms on the campus, formerly that of Piner Elementary School, are used for a YMCA after-school program, Raasch said.

The intruders turned over a refrigerator, broke windows, tagged the outside of the classroom with gang graffiti, tore up the school’s vegetable garden and tortured a pet hamster, Raasch said.

“It was bad. They did three different cruel things to it,” Raasch said.

A woman playing volleyball with her family at the school heard the sound of glass breaking around 7 p.m. Saturday and saw the juveniles running from the portable classrooms a short time later, Raasch said.

The woman investigated, saw the vandalism and called the sheriff’s office, Raasch said.

Sheriff’s deputies located and detained the juveniles at Sam Drive and Dayton Street within Santa Rosa city limits, and the woman identified some of them as the suspects, Raasch said.

The juveniles do not attend Northwest Prep School, Raasch said.

Two 11-year-old boys were arrested on suspicion of felony vandalism and released to their mothers, Raasch said.

Two 13-year-old boys and a 14-year-old boy were arrested for burglary and vandalism and booked into juvenile hall, Raasch said. The 13-year-old boys were also arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty, Raasch said.

Northwest Prep is in the Piner-Olivet Union School District and serves 143 students in grades 7-12, according to its website. Principal Keith Muelrath was not immediately available for comment.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)

Comments (74)
  1. Trudy Sanders says:

    Straight to San Quentin. Animal torture is only the beginning.

    1. Cole says:

      I think that its excessive for the little ones. Its torture yes but these are lives of real people not hamster population. We need to help them not turn them into monsters by sending them to jail.. thats the problem in a country that has no community. Too many stupid rules and no moral codes. they are little boys and guess what, most little boys play rough like that all over the world. If only Americans travelled more and not through TV.

      1. Anthony says:

        Playing rough!?!?!? Are you serious???? Playing rough is playing tackle football with no pads. Playing rough is NOT torturing an animal while breaking into a school!!!!!! I played rough as a little kid and it didn’t entail breaking and entering and killing animals! You are an idiot in the purest sense.

      2. Lisa says:

        Cole don’t you know that most serial killers got their start by torturing and killing animals.

      3. TMom says:

        Chances are…if there’s a Penal Code associated with it, it is more than ‘playing rough.’

      4. Stan says:

        I agree Cole. It’s bad, but not that bad unless it’s part of a pattern. Kids can be unthinkingly cruel in so many ways….what’s more important is that they are encouraged to learn some empathy for one’s fellow creatures…and probably not by getting abused in Juvinile hall.

      5. Kevin Wallis says:

        your an idiot, i learned by the swift hand of my parents, and guess what, it was a lesson not soon forgotten. playing rough is a lot different then what they did. im sure they wont get jail time, and im betting they wont soon want to go back. Its the kids that torture animals that will soon want to try it on people, so why dont we move them in with you.

      6. Sean says:

        Cole, you are nuts. You need to have your head examined and yes, I have seen personally how people behave around the world, and it is not this way. I

      7. kevin says:

        Jeffrey Dahmer used to catch and kill cats when he was young. No big deal right? No big deal until they found human heads in his refrigerator.

        The problem isn’t with the kids, it is the fault of the parents (or lack thereof). It seems most of these kids are raising themselves on the streets, and another part of the problem is having idiots sympathize with kids rather than punish them.

      8. vlad says:

        just do to them what they did to the hamster. An eye for an eye. Torturing of an animal is a pathology of the brain. It can be corrected only by an extra strong depressing stimuli, like very strong pain. If they aren’t punished to instill fear of repeating such an action in the future, these little monsters will remember only one thing – you can torture and get away unpunished.

        By the way, Cole, i’m not an American. The monsters like these ones do exist everywhere across the world, and like here they are a minority.

      9. just me says:

        Remember that kids who torture animals usually grow up to torture and kill people. And the gang graffiti indicates that these “little boys” are already well on their way to “bigger and better” things.

      10. you're kidding me right? says:

        Cole, you are a complete idiot!!! This country has gone to s*$! because of bleeding heart liberals such as yourself. You can’t turn someone (even a kid) into a monster by sending them to jail if they already are one. I grew up with 7 brothers and guess what…. not one of them got off by torturing and killing animals. They were busy riding bikes, playing football, and worrying about kissing girls which is whats normal for a young boy. I’m not sure what country you come from, but here in AMERICA “playing rough” by torturing animals is not acceptable! Kids that do that kind of stuff grow up to be serial killers man…

      11. T.Wilson says:

        They’re already monsters and ‘we” had nothing to do with the “turning”.
        No community? Every time there’s a disaster our “community” is the one the world turns to for help you moron.

      12. duh says:

        It is not excessive because they don’t learn from their mistakes if they don’t get an REAL punishment. Sending kids to time-out or standing at a corner as punishment never solves the problem. They will think that it is not severe and they will continue this ridiculous and stupid behavior upon society. That’s why American culture is stupid, allowing so many young kids go with a yell from the parents rather than real discipline. Get out of here man, GROW UP

      13. dude says:

        Ok, Cole, lets let these “little ones” out, let them break into your house, torture your pets, if you have any, and see what you feel then.
        After all, its just boys being boys, right?

      14. Me says:

        They’re already monsters. Cole. Stop justifing their behavior. I never did anything like that because it was obviously wrong and cruel. Nobody needed to tell me that. These kids are bad seeds, and the sooner they’re gone, the better the world will be.

      15. Heather says:

        Um seriously? A life is a life and they should be punished severely! Not to only teach them wrong for the torture of this poor defensless animal but to keep them from doing worse to other animals and humans later in life. Little boys? They are WELL old enough to KNOW BETTER! However, the parents are resposible as well for not teaching morals and standards to these little monsters, and yes that is what they are! I hope they get the recieve the most harsh sentence punishable by law to teach them a lesson.

      16. Heather says:

        Me! I totally and 100% agree with YOU!

      17. born in Hawaii also says:

        Hey Cole,

        I hve three things I’d like to do to you – of course these things won’t be too excessive either. Just call it playing rough with YOU.

    2. skye says:

      torturing animals is a prelude to far worse behavior…it needs to be punished and handled now….its NOT ok….

    3. Rudy says:

      Is this was under my power, I give this rotten kids death penalty, they are going to be serials killers, who need this type of garbage free on the street, they got no respect for living creatures

  2. Justin Lovessarahpalin M says:

    They need to punish these sick little SOB’s and not give them a slap on the hand…that’s whats wrong with society today…and the parents need to be held accountable as well…this is just plain disgusting ):

  3. Tours Martel says:

    Parents, you say? The article says “released to their mothers”, another case of fatherless boys going bad. Family fragments are not a substitute for intact ones composed of a male father married to a female mother. Sorry if that offends some folks, but the numbers just don’t lie. Damaged family fragments produce damaged children, especially boys.

  4. DJ says:

    Trudy is absolutely correct. Torturing and Killing an animal is just a start. Burglary and vandalism… They need to be in prison, no slap on the wrist. Of Course most parents will say not my son.

  5. JoMama says:

    Of course the mothers will say, “He’s a good kid, he just got into the wrong crowd.”
    Let’s not forget Jeffrey Dahmer tortured small animals as a child too.

  6. y0papa says:

    Now, Jeffrey Dahmers’ mom and dad were talking to the news after his arrest. They seem to have been married all the time he grew up. But then they didn’t tell his life story. And he went totally bad.

  7. mike says:

    figures they are gangsters wth bad parents who probably don’t thnk twice about what they did to that animal

  8. Rusty Nail says:

    The Police are very concerned about this as a gateway crime for serial killers. As stated in a previous comment. We had an incident like this in some apartments where I lived once. The result was the father, this boy was in a single parent home with his father, skipped town in the middle of the night so his 12 year-old son would not be taken away from him. It is not about single mothers.

  9. mike says:

    ruthless baby g’s, thiis knd of behavior only adds to their creds unfortunately

  10. Kennx7 says:

    Anchor babies.. These are illegal mothers having kids in our borders in attempt to legally stay here..
    These boys had an alcoholic father back in Mexico who whipped them w/ belts in the name of punishment instead of just teaching them right from wrong. Than is why they felt the need to torture animals..

    1. Marcella Maynard Thomason says:

      please direct me to where you obtained your information. I did not see any of that in the article above.

  11. horse rider says:

    I don’t believe a slap on the wrist or sitting in a counselor’s air conditioned office talking about trivial subjects will bring it home to these boys. Eleven or 14, they were already part of a gang of boys. Mild remonstrations to “don’t do this” won’t work. As stated before, this is ust the beginning for them.

    I’m fine with letting them come play with my protection dog, say a game of chase where they get a 30 second head start.

  12. Tammy says:

    Those who harm innocents whether it be animals, childen or even adults that are mentally incapciatated have no place on this earth, even if “children” are prepetuating the crimes. I believe that some souls are just born bad and therefore they do not have the capacity to understand the pain they cause by thier actions. Jeffrey Dahmer started off by torturing animals…and look what he ended up doing?

  13. Tammy says:

    Those who harm innocents whether it be animals, childen or even adults that are mentally incapciatated have no place on this earth, even if “children” are prepetuating the crimes. I believe that some souls are just born bad and therefore they do not have the capacity to understand the pain they cause by thier actions. Jeffrey Dahmer started off by torturing animals…and look what he ended up doing?

    1. Steven McMichael says:

      AWESOME IDEA….. they will amount to NOTHING so might as well do it now save some $$$ on prison and save other people / animals / property from their path….

  14. Mari says:

    Illegals… it’s over, folks…

  15. brady says:

    how do you know they were illegals? ….everyone is trying to blame everything on this hard working people im sure you can find the problem somewhere else; maybe starting in your own backyard? just saying amigo

  16. Mari says:

    Okay, MEXICANS! Happy now?

    1. THEE MEXICAN says:

      Oh mari…. lol.. they are just bored kids… and all you animal “lovers” are sick deprived white people who dont……..sorry…….. CANT…..llove or help your fellow man… im going to enjoy my cat and dog dinner tonight…mmmmmmmm

  17. Sheryl Thompson says:

    Don’t be so dam quick to judge and blame the parents, most parents work and kids are left home alone, when mom stayed home we had a better society, i understand most parents have to work just to make ends meat, but come on if we punish our kids its abuse and if we don’t we spoil them, its a double edge sword if you ask me. Don’ get me wrong these little brats need to be taught a big lesson, what they need is taken out to the tool shed, all i am saying is don’t always blame the parents sometimes you just get a bad seed, take it from someone who knows what she is talking about.

    1. Kevin Wallis says:

      dont forget the fact that parents cant disiplin kids any more. when i was young, it wasnt the cops or jail i worried about, it was my father and mother that would whoop me. i raised my kids the same way, where they knew right from wrong, and were more worried about me getting after them, and now there adults and never been in trouble , just like me.

    2. Dixie says:

      @ Sheryl Thompson: According to your own statement that most parents work and kids are left home alone, does in fact place the blame on the parents. If both parents need to work in order to raise children, then they simply can’t afford to have children.

  18. Eric Coupey says:

    Parents or tutors are responsible for this and should be made to pay for repairs of all damages and costs in addition to a hefty fine that would go towards some educational project related to this type of abuse. Culprits to do community work at animal shelters.

  19. David says:

    Significant in the copy, were that the boys were released to their mothers. No fathers in the picture.


  20. Tony says:

    Hey Thee Mexican,

    You as dumb as your sombrero. You have already had your cat and dog, you ate it them while you and your homies were sneaking across the border. Go take a spelling test, and eat a blow fish, please!

  21. proud_bay_man says:

    I smell a future mass murderer in their future.

  22. TF says:

    Because our society does not teach young kids ethics and moral behavior, the result is what we have seen, little monsters torturing animals, and potentially criminals or serial killers when they grow up. Putting them in jail may seem harsh but doing nothing is worse. Why? Because kids need to learn the consequence of their actions.

  23. The Rock says:

    Might as well reserve their room in San Quentin now since that is exactly were these punks are headed. Stupid ass Thee Mexican can visit them on occasion. You probably already know your way around the joint anyway, Fool.

  24. athenia says:

    These monsters should be sent to reform school, its just pure evil, what they did to that innocent animal! The parents should be arrested for neglect, and the school should have a security guard, and or video cameras! The real hero here is the woman who called the police! I hope they experience the fear and pain the hamster felt, at some point in their lives!

  25. mscott says:

    so if you smash an ant, that leads to being a serial killer? come on. I think it’s repeated animal abuse if you were to be honest.

    1. you're kidding me right? says:

      you’re a total block head my friend… you can’t compare an ant to a household family pet like a hamster. dumb ass

    2. Big Mike says:

      mscott is a moron.

  26. Sachez says:

    I bet they were illegals

    1. Anthony says:

      You f*ing jacka$$…hopefully someone will bind and torture your dumb a$$…

      1. * says:

        Anthony’s an idiot.

  27. astuartgirl says:

    Maybe their fathers were at their 2nd job …

  28. Jon Anthony says:

    neuter the little b@st@rds first, ask questions later…that’s my motto

  29. Victor Lee says:

    If they old enough to do such things, they are old enough to receive the correct punishment. Jail time is appropriate at best! That being said, the parents should also be held responsible because these are still considered minors in terms of theirs ages. If the problem is not cured within the family enviroment, it would not be easily fixed outside the system.

  30. Chris says:

    Giving those boys a “slap on the wrist” or ANY other light weight reprimand sends them a clear and unmistakable signal they can get away with their behavior. There needs to consequences for bad behavior and in this case swift and severe…those boys, if there is any hope for them, need to face consequences that mean something to their little disturbed heads. Doesn’t matter how or why they are disturbed in terms of punishment…if you want to help them…punish them severely so they understand clearly what they have done is not acceptable or permissible…a chat with their Mom’s or a psychologist isn’t enough. Someone up above stated that they”learned by the swift hand of their parents”…BRAVO…that works! Those boys need to know in no uncertain terms that their behavior won’t be tolerated! Making EXCUSES for peoples behavior has got to stop at some point. Make the parents pay for the damage as well.

  31. Tom, Chicago IL says:

    Kill the kids and their worthless parents.

  32. Joe says:

    Nobody here even knows what this ‘torture’ was. It’s likely someone trying to sensationalize the story, and overblow what could have very well been an accident.

    These days when having a ballpoint pen is considered carrying a ‘deadly weapon’, and nail clippers are ‘weapons of terror’, I can imagine ‘Hampster Torture’ is nothing more than they left it without water.

  33. Lady Luck says:

    Sounds like these boys are exactly where they need to be! This is not a case of “Playing Rough”! Torturing animals is NOT ok, no matter if it’s “just” a hampster. They are future juvenille delinquents and if their parents and society think this is just a minor infraction, then what kind of role models are they/we??? They need to know how wrong it is to act so ignorantly.

  34. Tony says:

    Stupid SOBs. Lock them up with a couple of real animals, see how it feels to live in fear of your life, ungrateful MFs.

  35. Dahlia says:

    They should have Cole watch these ‘little monsters’ OR put them in a room w/a couple of dogs that they can’t torture and see if they ‘get it’

  36. Joann says:

    The kids should be punished for their actions. Maybe if ppl werent so afraid of actuallly disciplining children we wouldnt have these problems that the youth of these days are having. Remember ppl, these kids are soon going to be deciding the future and they are delequents!! Some kids have no respect for other ppl’s property and they have parents that let them run the streets and be hoodlums. They need a good hard swift kick in the a** on a daily basis, until they learn their lesson. and as for the was a living thing and probably loved by the children in the class that had it. and they killed it probably thinking it was funny, and there is no excuse for that action as well. I hope the children suffer alot of humility!!!

  37. SurroundedByCops says:

    As a mother of four and the wife, sister in-law and daughter in-law of police officers I can tell you that juveniles who do these types of things rarely fail to become repeat offenders. They are obviously lacking appropriate adult role models and supervision as they are already involved with gangs. Not to mention animal torture which we all know is an indicator of a lack of empathy, which is learned as a very small child, and is a necessary component of a healthy well adjusted person. These “children” need punishment on a level with their crimes. If you slap them on the wrist and send them home to mommy and their gang you will surely be seeing them back in the court system before long. Juvenile court for serious crimes is a joke and worse it only furthers the delinquent’s belief that they are somehow endowed with the right do whatever they want and do not need to fear the consequences.

  38. Lynda Falkowski says:

    These boys are clearly out of contol. The commiitted adult crimes….torturing an innocent defenseless creature is criminal. It is also a very clear telling picture of exactly who these “little boys” are. They are vandals, destroyers, torturers and tresspassers. Not the resume of a “little boy”. Their cultural, economic and educational backgrounds make no difference here. They banded together for the mere purpose of destruction and cruelty. They all belong in juvenile hall and they all deserve criminal records. Then they make a choice …as they grow up and they want to right the wrongs they perpetrated or do that want to graduate to assault, rape and murder? Shock them now with the harsh real consquences of their actions. Do not minimize or belittle their heinous actions. Accountability is the first step in healing and growth.

    1. Michele says:

      Well said Lynda

  39. Michele says:

    What’s sad is the children who come into school and see the hamster everyday will soon find out what happened and will also be traumatized. These hoodlums should be taught a costly lesson. It’s people who have no compassion are the ones that thrill kill for fun. I don’t understand how someone could hurt a defenseless animal or defenseless person. It amazes me the thought process of these sick individuals. If I were in charge…I would lock these punks up and throw away the key. You want to play…your gonna have to pay for what you did. And being a single mom…..I have taught my son to respect all living creatures. He has made me proud of the compassion he has towards all living things. It is the way it should be. RESPECT

  40. Sonoma County says:

    This article is missing a little information. The building that they vandalized is for a YMCA run preschool! I too am horrified at hearing about what they did to a preschool class pet, but the article glossed over the other damages. Everyone seems to only see the killing of the animal in the story and focus on that one aspect of their crime. The vandalism they performed in the classroom was almost as sick and disgusting as the torture of the animal. It took days to clean up the damages and I doubt there was much that was able to be salvaged and used in the classroom again. Animal torture by itself is disgusting, but I am also sickened by the other damage they inflicted. I do not know what was going on inside their heads. Does no one have respect for the property of others anymore? Bravo and thank you to the woman who heard something going on and had the guts to report it and identify these individuals.