Three teens arrested in Anchorage high school vandalism

Posted: Friday, June 13, 2003

ANCHORAGE (AP) Three teenage girls were arrested in connection with an Anchorage high school vandalism spree two weeks ago that left interior walls spray painted and door locks filled with glue, police said.

Two 15-year-olds and a 16-year-old were arrested Wednesday and taken to McLaughlin Youth Center. They are each charged with burglary and criminal mischief, said detective Jeff Gregg, who headed the investigation.

Charges also are pending against an 18-year-old woman.

Vandals on May 24 marred long stretches of Dimond High School's hallways with green and gold spray paint the colors of rival Service High School.

Two of the arrested girls attended Dimond and one attended Bartlett High School, Gregg said.

''I'm not shocked or surprised it was Dimond students,'' Gregg said. ''They're teenagers, and it's not uncommon for them to make it look like someone else did it.''

Initially school officials estimated the damages at $50,000 and later about $35,000. That has dropped to about $14,000.

Police and school officials thought the vandalism might have been done by girls because few things were broken and nothing was stolen from vending machines.

They also said the graffiti handwriting looked feminine.

Gregg said several tips came in afterward, including one from Wal-Mart employees who reported ''suspicious sales.''

But it was a tip from a Dimond student earlier this week that led to the arrests. That caller told police that ''one girl was actually bragging about breaking into the school,'' Gregg said.

Superintendent Carol Comeau said the district will seek payment from the girls' families. State law allows school districts to sue the parents of minors for up to $15,000 in damages.

Comeau said she wants to see the girls serve community service time. The district also can seek disciplinary action, including expulsion, she said.

''We also want to sit them down and find out why they did it,'' Comeau said.

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