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TeWinkle break-ins cost $5,000

May 13, 2006|By Lauren Vane

Costa Mesa police are investigating a break-in at TeWinkle Middle School that resulted in more than $5,000 in damage to five classrooms and an office.

Special education classrooms at the Orange County Department of Education on the TeWinkle campus were also burglarized, but police aren't sure whether the incidents are related.

A school employee reported the vandalism and burglaries at the campus in the 3200 block of California Avenue at 7 a.m. Friday morning, Costa Mesa Sgt. Marty Carver said.

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The break-in must have occurred sometime between 6 p.m. Thursday and 7 a.m. Friday, Carver said.

The damage was extensive inside the TeWinkle classrooms and office. Someone spray-painted "all types of anger-related slurs geared at the principal and assistant principal" on walls, computers, keyboards and books, Carver said.

"This appears to be some angry student at the principal and administration," Carver said.

TeWinkle Principal Dan Diehl was not available for comment Friday.

Around the same time that the TeWinkle burglary and vandalism occurred, someone also broke into classrooms at the department of education facilities on the same campus. The burglar stole an unknown amount of cash from a lockbox inside one of the rooms, Carver said.

Police don't know if the two incidents are related, but each time the person entered the buildings through a sliding glass window. Some of the vandalism inside TeWinkle was done inside locked rooms, but there was no sign of forced entry. All keys are accounted for so police don't know how they got in, Carver said.

A spray paint can was found on top of one of the school buildings and is being processed as evidence. So far no students have been interviewed in relation to the burglaries and vandalism, Carver said.

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