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More school vandalism reported

November 29, 2000

Danette Goulet

NEWPORT-MESA -- Vandals wreaked havoc on at least half the public

school campuses in Newport-Mesa over the four-day holiday weekend,

district officials said.

At three Costa Mesa schools -- Davis Education Center, Costa Mesa High

School and the site leased to Coastline Community College -- vandals

threw manhole covers through windows and ransacked offices in search of

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cash and valuables, said Eric Jetta, director of facilities and

maintenance operations for the district.

At least 50% of the district's 29 schools were vandalized to some

extent, he said.

"There was a lot of broken glass and 35% of the schools had graffiti,"

Jetta added. "I reported today that this was extremely unusual. We took a

lot of trash cans out of pools."

At Corona del Mar High School, there was extensive damage done to the

swimming pool area, he added.

When David Hughes, the recreation coordinator for the community

service department of the city of Newport Beach, arrived at the Corona

del Mar pool early Sunday morning, he found a mess.

"Someone got in over the fence, which is not such a tough feat, and

everything that was easily movable got dumped into the pool," Hughes

said. "By easily movable I mean by two, three, maybe four people --

bleachers, lifeguard chairs, a metal table. The main damage done was

someone had cut the backstroke flags down. That's about $150 worth of

damage."

Just days before, vandals defaced Newport Heights Elementary School,

spreading orange slush on the cafeteria floor, setting off fire

extinguishers, cooking a stuffed animal in a microwave and stealing $100

from a classroom, police said.

In this case, school officials said they are not sure how the vandals

got into the rooms, but police say somebody likely stole a master key.

At several school sites, damage was discovered Friday, having occurred

between Wednesday night and Friday morning, while other sites were hit

between Friday night and early Sunday morning, Jetta said.

Although police have no suspects yet, vandals are often caught when

they commit another act, or by bragging about what they've done, said

Sgt. Steve Shulman of the Newport Beach Police Department.

District officials said they will work with the police to find the

vandals.

"We do have some vandalism and it's not only costly but demoralizing,"

said Supt. Robert Barbot. "One of the things we try to do is make the

community realize that this is not the district's facility but the

community's facility, because it takes tax dollars to fix it."

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