Wilmington, Carson Schools Stung by Series of Burglaries : Crime: Police have no suspects in the rash of thefts and vandalism. Several schools were hit during the Thanksgiving holiday.
A string of burglaries in at least nine schools in Carson and Wilmington over the last three months has resulted in the loss of thousands of dollars’ worth of computer equipment, televisions and other supplies, officials said Thursday.
The thefts are being investigated by Los Angeles Unified School District police, who said that several schools had been burglarized during the Thanksgiving weekend despite increased patrols.
Carson High School was hit for the eighth time since October during the Thanksgiving break, said Principal Dhyan Lal. Lal said Carson’s losses totaled $15,000.
“This issue has really got us all baffled,” Lal said. “Usually, if kids are involved, they leave a trail. But even in the community, we haven’t been able to discover what is going on.”
Wesley Mitchell, L.A. Unified police chief, said investigators have been unable to determine whether the burglaries are the work of an individual or a group. Mitchell said his officers were looking into at least seven burglaries in Carson and Wilmington, but Carson school officials put the number of campuses hit at eight in their city alone.
Mitchell said the thieves are believed to live in the surrounding area, and that L.A. Unified employees are not under suspicion. In addition to the loss of equipment and supplies, in some cases classrooms have been trashed and graffiti spray-painted on the campuses.
Although an official estimate of total losses has yet to be compiled, Mitchell said the emotional and psychological toll on the schools’ staffs and students is immeasurable.
“How do you compute into dollars when a kid comes to class and finds his project destroyed?” Mitchell said.
At Carson’s Stephen M. White Junior High School, a personal computer was stolen when a library and book room were burglarized during the Thanksgiving break, Assistant Principal Roger Leue said. Earlier in November, the school’s administrative offices were also broken into and computer equipment stolen.
Because of district budget cuts, the equipment stolen from the campuses will likely not be replaced, school officials said.
“It’s certainly not going to stop our educational process but it’s sure frustrating on the teachers,” Leue said.
In addition to Carson High and Stephen M. White Junior High, schools burglarized include Carnegie Junior High and Bonita Street, Caroldale Avenue, Carson Street, Dolores Street and 232nd Street elementary schools. The name of the Wilmington school that was burglarized was not immediately available.