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More schools hit by weekend vandals

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by Nick Delgado

Guam - The Guam Police Department and the Department of Education are investigating a rash of break-ins that happened in three public schools this past weekend. DOE officials are now making a greater push to identify funding so that it can enhance its security measures on the campuses.

"It's such a shame that this happen to a new school, and this is not the first time," noted Okkodo High School assistant principal Rita Flores. She says the Dededo campus has been burglarized at least a hand full of times this school year. She says it was the school's basketball coach that came in early Saturday morning to an office that was trashed, explaining, "We arrived on campus and we called the Guam Police Department, who brought their Crime Lab and from there once the school was cleared with them we were able to go in and assess the damages."

Several of school faculty offices and a total of 15 classrooms in the school's D-Wing had shattered glass windows on the doors, damaged desks, and even a pair of laptops and snacks were taken. "We did have computer laptops taken out of the school, a canopy but right now at this time we don't have the full assessment however the mess has cleaned up, the insurance has been contacted, AMI has been over to assist to help with the damages as well," said Flores.

Flores admits the vandals got in through what is believed to be an unsecured window in one of the classrooms. She says it's too premature to determine who will be held accountable. Cruz also says the school has security measures in place, saying, "We do have a security system somewhere on our campus and then we also implemented a night watch with our school aides."

Flores says unfortunately this past Friday just happened to be one of the days no night watch staff were on duty. She says the school is still crunching the numbers and taking count of what items are missing, and how much total damage they received from this recent hit. "The DOE has so far racked up a $50,000 bill related to the break-ins in the public schools this school year alone, and the problem now has officials asking for more money to put a security system in place in its facilities," she told KUAM News.

DOE Facilities and Maintenance Manager Billy Cruz says the department will be making a request to the governor and the legislature to find funds to strengthen security. "We've been encountering break ins in practically almost half of the islands schools so we are going to be looking into putting some kind of security alarm system for all our schools," he said.

Cruz also confirms vandals broke into and trashed the office and library at Finegayan Elementary School, as well as four classrooms at Inarajan Middle School over the weekend. "The same reason what these perpetrators are looking for I guess, money and food and just destroying practically the office equipments," said Cruz.

Cruz says it's unknown at this time is the burglaries are related. In the meantime, DOE officials are urging anyone in the community who may have information regarding the recent break-ins to contact police immediately.

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