Nevada Union High School was vandalized Saturday night, leaving lockers and hallways throughout the school in disarray, according to the Nevada County Sheriff’s Department.
Cpl. Rhia Grotke said that the department got a call from someone on the NU campus around 10 a.m. Sunday, reporting that the school had been vandalized.
“It looks like overnight, subjects, or the subject, went to the school and pried open all of the master locks to the outside lockers,” Grotke said. “They took the content of most of the lockers and threw them on the ground in front of the lockersausing damage to all the locks and handle mechanisms.”
Grotke was the only officer who responded to the scene, and added, “There were a lot of students who came out and started sending mass text messages to other students telling them to get their stuff from their lockers because it was all on the ground. Word is getting out pretty fast for them to get out here and pick up their stuff so it wont be there over night.”
NU principal Mike Blake said that lockers in the school’s quad area experienced the worst damage, along with lockers by the Ali Gym and the campus’ J wing. Blake said that the crime was the worst thing he’s seen happen to the campus, in terms of vandalism, and that it was a senseless act.
“We’ve had some vandalism with some spray paint, or occasionally we’ll have some lockers that might get broken into, but I’ve never seen anything this widespread,” Blake said Sunday, “I mean, this really took some effort to do, and I know as we get to the end of the year we have some stuff happen, but nothing like this, and certainly nothing as destructive or ill intended as this.”
According to Blake, the vandalism couldn’t have come at a worst time for certain students, who have final papers, senior projects and exams to complete. Blake also said that the vandals caused a good amount of monetary damage that the school will have to pay for.
“Frankly, it just sickens me because kids and parents are up here now trying to find their belongings, as well as sorting things out for others, but (it’s) just absolutely senseless,” Blake said.
“And a lot of damage, a lot of monetary damage, looking at the number of lockers that were damaged, as far as costs, we’re probably in the thousands. So we’re definitely committed to finding out who did this because it’s so senseless.”
Grotke said that the school’s surveillance footage may help in finding the suspects and that the School Resource Officer, Deputy Jason Clinkinbeard, will be heading the investigation into who committed the crime.
“I believe the assistant principals are reviewing the video today, and then they will be reviewing it with Deputy Clinkinbeard and it will become evidence in the case,” Gotke said.
Most of the damage, Grotke said, looked like vandalism as opposed to theft, though at this point, Grotke said, “I didn’t see a lot of valuables on the ground, but then again, kids don’t usually leave a lot of valuables in their lockers, so I don’t know if things were taken.”
Blake said that district Superintendent Louise Johnson will soon be offering an award for people who have information that would help identify any suspects to the crime and that the students will hopefully be helpful in the process.
“We’re definitely going to be focusing on who did it,” Blake said. “So I’m hopeful that the kids will keep their ears open because they are as angry about this as we are. But we’ll take all the steps, and hopefully we can find this person, or persons, as quickly as possible.”
Blake added, “You know, we always talk to our seniors and the kids about senior pranks, that it could cost you your graduation, your ceremony, in terms of walking or participating. We’ve had things like a baby pool of water, I mean stuff that is not destructive per say. It’s still vandalism, but at least the kids understand they’re not destroying property. But this is just rampant destruction of property.”
Anyone with information regarding this case can call School Resource Officer Deputy Jason Clinkinbeard at 530-273-4431, ext. 2125, or the Nevada County Sheriff’s dispatch office at 530-265-7880
A previous version of this story spelled Cpl. Rhia Grotke’s name. The Union regrets the error.
To contact Staff Writer Ivan Natividad, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4236.