VALLEJO (KPIX 5) – Vallejo police are looking for 3 young men who vandalized a school early Sunday morning.
“Numerous classroom items were destroyed,” said Vallejo Police Lt. Todd Tribble. “It’s just simply senseless.”
The crime happened early Sunday morning on the campus of Solano Middle School, which is in the process of merging with a nearby elementary school to become a K-8 campus.
Police said the suspects were either teenagers or young adult men who broke a window to gain access to the campus. Photos provided by the school district show ransacked classrooms with books and supplies in a jumble on the floor. Profanities were scrawled on whiteboards.
“Desks were turned over, papers were thrown throughout the class. Personal items of the teachers and things that were ready for the students were were broken, thrown on the floor, the classes were really trashed,” said Adam Clark, Ed.D., Superintendent of the Vallejo City Unified School District, who sent out an email to district staff announcing the vandalism
“They turned over desks, got into the computer carts and threw chrome books [laptops] around,” Clark added.
“The laptops were beyond damaged, I mean they were destroyed,” said Lt. Tribble. “They were just crushed.”
Police said some fire extinguishers were set off, as well. Some janitors on campus heard noises and called police at 7:34 am, Lt. Tribble said. They approached the three burglars who then ran away.
“They fled the classroom, ran down a hallway and that was the last the custodial staff saw them and I’m very happy that the custodians didn’t chase them, we don’t want anybody to get hurt,” Lt. Tribble said.
Police said burglar alarms first went off at the school around 3 am Sunday. Police said they searched thoroughly but did not find anybody. Police left the scene.
Then, around 6:30 am, Clark said custodians on the property heard the sounds of people rummaging. The custodians went to check and found themselves face-to-face with the burglars.
“They were in the act of vandalizing a classroom.” Clark said.
One custodian was able to snap photos of two of the suspects with his iPhone.
“It’s very sad and disappointing that this is something somebody would go out and do,” Clark said. “We are trying to educate kids. To have somebody try to destroy that is disheartening.”
The superintendent sent an email to the school community, informing them about the vandalism.
He was thrilled to see an immediate response from about 20 people who went to work on the Sunday before school was scheduled to begin.
“Within about five minutes, the teacher’s union president called me at home and said, ‘what can we do?’ And so Sheila Gradwohl went over and once she saw the damage, she put a call out to her teachers. But the call had already gotten out. I had already been receiving emails from teachers, classified staff, wanting to know what they could do to help,” Clark said.
“This group of administrators, custodians, maintenance workers and teachers, the significant others of some of these people, just really came together and worked on those classrooms. And now they have them presentable for the students tomorrow,” Clark said.
“It really shows the spirit of our school district and of our city of people coming together in these challenging times.”
The three suspected burglars wore bandanas over their faces. Police are asking the public if they saw anything suspicious, to call the Vallejo police crimestoppers 707-644-7867.
“People can either leave their name or they can report it anonymously,” Lt. Tribble said.