James Flood Magnet School vandalized

Little if anything reported missing in early Tuesday break-in to two classrooms, according to officials

Police are investigating an apparent vandalism early Tuesday morning at the James Flood Magnet School in East Palo Alto in which classrooms were ransacked but little if anything taken.

Officers responded to an anonymous report of suspicious activity near the elementary school at 2:45 a.m. Tuesday, Detective John Norden said.

The vandals entered the school by prying open classroom windows, one school district administrator said.

Megan Curtis, the district's chief financial officer, said early reports in the press "severely exaggerated" the extent of damages, with reports incorrectly suggesting the theft of expensive electronics and extensive vandalism throughout the school.

Curtis said she learned from the school operating manager that one window was broken during the incident.

"I bet they broke that one by accident," she said.

Norden confirmed that whoever entered the building did so by forcing open a couple of windows, possibly with a crowbar.

"They might have ransacked the classrooms looking for valuables," he said. "More than likely it was kids looking for money."

But Norden said the initial police report did not indicate any property was missing.

Curtis said the broken window has already been repaired and that the school day Tuesday otherwise proceeded normally.

In a mid-February incident that left the school's 280 students without any computers, thieves targeted the school office and made off with 30 laptops donated by Hewlett-Packard and other electronics, worth about $15,000 in all.

Since then, burglars have struck at least three other times throughout the Ravenswood City School District, which has suffered more than $20,000 in losses of computers and camera equipment.

Norden said that unless more witnesses step forward with information, the case would be closed to expedite insurance claims.

East Palo Alto police are asking anyone with information to contact the department at (650) 853-3160.

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Like this comment
Posted by Sybille
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on May 26, 2010 at 2:09 pm

Maybe we could start a community effort to have alarm systems installed at these schools? Education is so very important, especially for children in communities that are not as affluent as other ones. Anyone game to help???

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