SIERRA VISTA — Two boys caught vandalizing an elementary school and leaving thousands of dollars in damage in their wake acted alone, a Sierra Vista detective said Tuesday.
When police saw the degree of destruction done to the interior of Huachuca Mountain Elementary School on Saturday afternoon, they thought the two youngsters had some help. But when Sierra Vista Detective John Papatrefon watched a surveillance video from the school, he saw that the boys wreaked the havoc themselves.
Additionally, one of the suspects who Papatrefon thought was 15, is only 12. The other child is 10. The youngsters were charged with burglary and aggravated criminal damage, Papatrefon said, and they are being treated as minors.
“It’s not looking good for these two,” Papatrefon said Tuesday afternoon.
The detective described a school turned “upside down” to the tune of roughly $50,000 in damages. The vandalism included shattered windows and doors, paint all over some of the floors, broken computers and TVs, overturned chairs in the cafeteria, damaged instruments in the music room and artwork done by students torn down.
The boys also entered the school office and “trashed it” Papatrefon said. They also damaged ceiling tiles, the detective said.
Based on what he saw on the surveillance video, Papartrefon said the young vandals entered the school Friday evening and “trashed” the school office by 8:30 p.m.
“They left and came back the next day,” Papatrefon said.
The detective said he does not know how the boys broke into the school, but an alarm did not go off. Police were called on Saturday after 1 p.m. only after someone in the neighborhood heard noises coming from the school, Papatrefon said.
“They were inside a classroom,” the detective said.
When officers arrived at the scene, they caught the youngsters in the act, Papatrefon said. The pair was arrested and then released to their parents when they arrived at the school.
Neither of the boys attends Huachuca Mountain, Papatrefon said, and nether has confessed or said anything about a motive for the vandalism.
Papatrefon said several teachers, the principal and some school board officials reported to the school on Saturday to survey the damage.
“The teachers were told to take whatever they could,” Papatrefon said. “The school is not going to be open for a while.”
The boys’ next stop will be in front of a judge in Cochise County Superior Court, Papatrefon said.