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Four young men were arrested Wednesday morning and charged with burglarizing two Cleveland schools, according to a police news release.
The suspects first broke into Cleveland High School, but triggered a motion sensor alarm and quickly fled.
Their next target was Cleveland Middle School. They broke through the glass on the side of an entrance door sometime between 2 and 3 a.m., police said. Three of the suspects snuck inside and vandalized the building while a fourth stood outside as a lookout.
Cleveland City Schools Director Martin Ringstaff said the intruders smashed computer monitors and light bulbs, overturned desks and destroyed valuable equipment, including Apple TV devices.
"They did quite extensive damage," he said.
They moved methodically from room to room, breaking some things and stealing others, Ringstaff said. They even entered the school office and shoved poles through drywall to break into the school vault.
"Luckily, we never keep money in the vault overnight," Ringstaff said, "so that was wasted effort."
Among the items taken were three Macbooks, some computer monitors, a number of iPads and other school property. The total value of what was stolen amounted to about $10,000, police said.
All stolen property was recovered and will be returned to the school, according to the release.
"It added up quickly, because those Macbooks are expensive," Ringstaff said.
The Cleveland Police Department estimated the burglars did about $10,000 worth of damage, too.
It didn't take long for police to catch up with them. Officer Tracy Maxfield performed a traffic stop on Paul Huff Parkway just before 4 a.m. that led Lt. Robert Harbison, with the Cleveland Police Department's Criminal Investigation Unit, and Detective Matt Jenkins to a home on Navaho Drive, according to the release.
After speaking with people at the residence, Harbison and Jenkins determined they were involved in the burglary and took four suspects to the Cleveland Police Department. They were identified as Dakota Norwood, 18; Samuel Hazleton, 18; and Jordan Miller, 18. The name of the male juvenile arrested was not released.
Ringstaff said two of the suspects, Norwood and Hazleton, are Cleveland High School alumni.
"It's a shame because these are graduates that we wished the best to and then they turn around and repay us like this," he said.
The four will be charged with burglary, theft over $10,000 and vandalism over $10,000, the release states.
Ringstaff said the damage can be easily cleaned up. He estimates that by Thursday evening "almost all traces of the break-in will be gone.
"We've got [everything] back and we'll be just fine, but unfortunately, they won't be," he said. "You've got to take responsibility for your actions."
Contact Lindsay Burkholder at 423-757-6592 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lindsay Burkholder is originally from Winston-Salem, N.C. She graduated from Covenant College in May 2012 with a bachelor's degree in English. While at Covenant she spent time writing for and editing the news section of the school newspaper, The Bagpipe. Burkholder also attended the World Journalism Institute in New York City in 2011.
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