Three juveniles in custody for Burnet school vandalism


Three juvenile suspects have been arrested and charged in the vandalism that caused extensive damage to the new Burnet County Texas AgriLife facility at 607 Vanderveer Street in Burnet Jan. 9 and more extensive damage in other buildings of the old Burnet Elementary School , on the Burnet High School campus and to a school bus there.

By Glynis Crawford Smith

Highland Lakes Newspapers

Tips from Hill Country Crime Stoppers led to the arrest of three boys in Burnet for break-ins Jan. 9 and Jan. 21 that caused at least $10,000 in damage, repair and stolen property at the old Burnet Elementary School campus where Quest High School and new Texas AgriLife Extension facilities are located and at the Burnet High School.

Burnet police were able to catch up with the three suspects on Tuesday morning, Jan. 24, after Crime Stopper Tips started coming in,” said Burnet Police Chief Paul Nelson, who said his department gathered evidence and located all of the stolen property that was taken during the burglaries.

“All three juveniles will be charged with Burglary of a Building and Criminal Mischief,” said Nelson. “They were taken to juvenile detention yesterday afternoon (Jan. 24) where they are under the supervision of juvenile probation. A 33rd Judicial District judge will decide where they go next.”

The incidents took place on the sprawling six-building campus of the old Burnet Elementary School at 607 Vanderveer Street that now includes Quest High School.

The cafeteria building, in the process of restoration for the Burnet County Texas AgriLife Extension Services, was one of the primary Jan. 9 target of the vandals. Despite damage to what will become a conference area, business offices for opened there at Vanderveer and Tate streets on Thursday Jan. 19.

“Workers had restored the stage floor in the old cafetorium,” said an AgriLife spokesperson. “It had to be done over, but it is beautiful now.

“The vandals pour big five-gallon buckets of oil-based paint on the other floors. It left the tiles stained and ugly. It will have to be covered with carpet.”

Fire extinguishers were used to cause some of the damage.

“The second burglary was reported on Jan. 21,” said Nelson. “Someone gained entry into the building by breaking a window out; once inside the building the suspects were able to spray the fire extinguishers again throughout the building and this time they were also able take several pieces of property from inside the building.”

On Monday Jan. 23, officers of the Burnet Police Department (BPD) met with officials of the Burnet Consolidated Independent School District (BCISD) at Burnet High School to take a report for Burglary of a Building along with Criminal Mischief to a school bus.

“The suspects made entry into a building at the high school and took several items of property with them,” said Nelson. “They then used another fire extinguisher and sprayed it throughout the inside of the school bus (parked there).”

That building was a field house by high school batting cages and both had been damaged. McBurnett said Wednesday he estimates damages, repairs and thefts will total at least $10,000.

When he learned of the damage Monday, BCISD Superintendent Keith McBurnett, PhD, posted a statement on Facebook.

“This past Saturday night, the former Burnet Elementary and Quest High School were both vandalized,” it read. “Windows were broken and fire extinguishers were discharged throughout the building. An additional window was broken on Sunday evening. Two weeks ago, similar damage was caused at Burnet Elementary including the new AgriLife Extension Building.

“There is ample evidence that this senseless damage is caused by young people,” McBurnett said. “The young people that committed this crime likely got fire extinguisher powder on their clothes. I would ask that parents be aware of this situation and know the whereabouts of their children, especially on late weekend nights.

“This destruction of property is illegal and takes the resources of time and money away from our schools to repair things that shouldn’t have to be repaired.”

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