Vandals strike city schools

Security video from the evening of July 22 captured five young males vandalizing a white mini-bus that was parked in the staff parking lot on the south side of Paul Kane High School. The suspects removed the spare tire, wrenched open the passenger door and sprayed the inside of the bus with a fire extinguisher.
The RCMP is hoping for public help in a string of vandalism cases from last weekend that caused thousands of dollars in damage at five St. Albert schools.

The spree began Friday July 22 at 11:10 p.m. when police received a report about windows smashing at Vital Grandin elementary school. Three windows facing the playground had been broken by thrown lumber and “no parking” signs.

Five young males were spotted fleeing the scene and at 11:18 p.m. five young males were spotted on security cameras at Paul Kane High School. At Paul Kane the five took the spare tire from one the school’s mini-buses, pried open the door and sprayed a fire extinguisher.

Police were then called to another report of windows being smashed at 11:55 p.m., this time at Sir Alexander Mackenzie, where a bench was used to break two windows. On Monday morning staff at Richard Fowler Junior High also found two broken windows.

The close time and proximity of these incidents makes the police believe strongly that they are all connected, said Cpl. Laurel Kading of the St. Albert RCMP.

“We feel that we had a group of — what looks like from the surveillance video — about five roaming around creating havoc,” she said.

The police are also interested in extensive vandalism to St. Albert Catholic High School, which also took place that weekend.

In that case, windows were smashed, but there was also widespread graffiti all over the building in black and orange spray paint.

“There is probably at least 70 different surfaces that have been damaged or graffitied,” Kading said.

Two arrested

Two teens were arrested early on Wednesday morning in connection to other vandalism incidents. Staff were in Paul Kane late Tuesday night when they spotted two youth on the roof of the building. The youth broke a window on the roof then ran toward Lorne Akins Junior High School.

Police identified the pair but didn’t catch up with them until around 1 a.m. when an alarm was set off at the St. Albert Centre Zellers store.

When officers responded they found the pair nearby and the two 16-year-old males are now facing charges of mischief under $5,000.

Police are still looking into whether the pair is connected to the five vandalized schools, Kading said.

She hopes parents who might have noticed unusual behaviour come forward with information or confront their children. She also said other youths who might know what happened should come forward because this affects them.

“This kind of damage is impacting all of the kids and it is something we are thinking youth need to realize — this hits them,” Kading said.

She said the string of incidents with the five males is concerning because it could lead to more damage.

“Is this a group that has got together and now they are on a bit of a spree?” she said.

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