During the holiday break, three public schools were burglarized on three different days, according to reports filed with the RHPD.
School superintendent Dr. Sallie Brewer announced on Thursday that the schools have put up a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest of the culprits.On Dec. 22, RHPD officers were dispatched to RHPS on a burglary call and found the school broken into with property damage inside. Among the items damaged were windows, computers and televisions. Food was thrown about and splattered on the walls of the kitchen. It was found where a fire extinguisher was allegedly thrown through a window near the front office.
On Dec. 23, RHPD responded to Carver Elementary on a burglary call. The report said windows and two glass doors were busted. They led to a cabinet in the nurse’s office containing prescription medication for students which was ransacked.
On Dec. 24, RHPD officers were conducting a routine check when they found that RHHS had been broken into. Several windows were shattered. The offices of the principal and vice principal were reportedly broken into. Two cash boxes were reportedly raided with $150 allegedly missing from each – one was slated to be used for basketball concessions while the other was for the gate.
On Dec. 25, also at RHHS, the modular classroom units used for JROTC and Regina Tomlin’s history class were reportedly broken into and damaged. In the JROTC building, several of the trophies were damaged.
At this stage in the investigation, it is unclear if the individual incidents are linked.
Lt. Mike Albritton, one of the RHPD detectives on the case, said he is following some leads and that fingerprints and shoeprints were found at the schools.
"Some of the shoe evidence indicates that these crimes could have possibly been committed by the same people," Albritton said. "For example, it suggests that the two incidents at the high school were committed by the same people. I can’t really say that the shoe evidence alone gives us proof beyond a reasonable doubt though as, the way kids are today, certain kinds of shoes are common."
"Vandalism is stealing from the children of Bryan County Schools and from the taxpayers who provide quality buildings and resources for our students," said Brewer.
RHPD Chief Billy Reynolds said he suspects an arrest will occur soon and that it may have been committed by students.
Reynolds said this is not the first time vandalism has occurred at Richmond Hill schools over a holiday break, but it is the most severe case to date.
It was only a week prior to this incident that Carver Elementary was vandalized.
On Dec. 14, someone broke into the school, damaged property and spray painted the walls with profanity.
Those responsible for that vandalism are still at large. Albritton said RHPD had looked at a couple of suspects, but that didn’t pan out.