Avenal School Vandalism: Parents Arrested

July 8, 2008 7:34:51 PM PDT
The investigation into five children accused of trashing their school led to the arrest of two parents.Belem Moreno said she was scared when police came and took away two of her sons Monday night. All day volunteers and custodial crews tried to clean up and salvage whatever they could at the school.

Since 6:00 a.m., workers and volunteers scrubbed, swept and did whatever they could to clean up an entire school police say was trashed by five children Sunday afternoon.

Investigators say the 10, 11, and 12 year old suspects smashed new computer monitors one after the other in a rampage.

Juanita Saldivar, Principal's assistant: "Some pictures they tore some of my stuff up and its just hard to come back and look at everything that is gone."

School desks and chairs along with other classroom belongings were placed out in the hallway as workers cleared out each room.

Gerardo Maldonado, Custodian: "It was pretty heavy cleaning a lot of cleaning a lot of picking a lot of stuff that's getting tossed away but thanks to the community we have good help good workers and we're getting through."

On Tuesday, officers also arrested the step parents of two of the children. Detectives believe Belem Moreno and Martin Sandoval tried to wipe the fingerprints off of a stolen laptop and hide the computer once they learned what their children did. Moreno spoke to Action News after she was released on bail.

Belem Moreno, Spanish: "Yes, I was arrested, too. And it's pretty hard because I have a two year old child and who's going to watch my child. I'm really scared."

Surveillance video shows one of the five children throwing a large piece of asphalt into a door.

Commander Putnam: "As you can see in the video some of the individuals wrapped gauze around their hands and arms to reach in the window without cutting themselves."

The students face a long list of charges including three felonies. Moreno tells us she is afraid of what will happen to her children.

Moreno, SPANISH: "I would not have let them go out if I knew what they were going to do. I didn't know they were going to do anything."

The Kings County District Attorney has not filed charges against the five children yet. School officials hope to have the estimated $250-thousand dollars in damages cleaned up in time for when school starts August 13th.
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