Break-in and theft at California High School

California High School was the scene of a break-in during the early morning hours of Thursday, July 19. Intruders gained entry by breaking the coat-check window of the CHS Performing Arts Center.

California High School was the scene of a break-in during the early morning hours of Thursday, July 19. Intruders gained entry by breaking the coat-check window of the CHS Performing Arts Center. Photo by April Arnett.

A number of electronic items, as well as some money, was discovered to be missing following discovery of a break-in at the California High School facility on West Buchanan Street. Some school property was damaged during the break-in.

According to Superintendent Dwight Sanders, the building was broken into after the school board meeting on Wednesday evening, and before the first school personnel arrived on the scene about 6:45 a.m. Thursday.

The break-in was discovered by CHS Principal's Secretary Kathy Blakely when she arrived at the school at about 6:45 a.m.

"My heart was in my throat," Blakely said. "I knew something was wrong immediately, because there were lights on that I had turned off when I left the office yesterday. My desk had been ransacked, and Bob Staton's (CHS Athletic Director) office window was broken."

Blakely said she immediately called district bookkeeper Susie Oliver to report the break-in.

Officers of the California Police Department responded immediately, according to Sanders. They were on-site by 7 a.m. to begin investigation of the incident and gather evidence.

Building entry was gained by breaking a window.

"They broke through the window of the coat-check room of the CHS Performing Arts Center," said Brandon Klein, custodian. "They broke the window beside the Media Center door to gain entry into the library and they broke Bob Staton's window to get into his office."

photo

Entry was gained into the school library by breaking the window beside the door. The California Police Department is currently conducting the investigation.

Once entry had been gained to the library media center, several electronic devices and digital equipment were taken. Some electronic equipment was taken from the administrative offices.

Keys the thief or thieves found when ransacking office decks were used to access several drink vending machines and unknown amount of money was stolen. Although a snack machine and pencil machine showed signs of tampering, entry was apparently not gained.

"The damage to the school property appears to exceed the value of what was taken," said Assistant California Police Chief Kenny Marshall.

Some of the evidence gathered is being sent to the Missouri Highway Patrol lab for analysis

"At least we know the new locks on the outer doors work because they gained entry by breaking windows," Ruth Rohrbach, custodian, said. "The locks were all changed at the end of the school year, right before graduation."

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