A janitor and another man arrested for stealing from Visalia schools

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Police said during the past few months the school district has been one of the biggest targets. With each theft growing bigger than the last. (KFSN)

The most common type of crime is Visalia is petty theft. Police said during the past few months the school district has been one of the biggest targets. With each theft growing bigger than the last.

Since August at Visalia Unified School District things have been mysteriously disappearing from classrooms.

"Little things like a cellphone missing off a charger, little bit of money taken out of a teacher's desk drawer," said Tamara Ravalin, Assistant Superintendent.

At first the thefts started off small, barely noticeable-- but as time went on. "They got a little bit more brave perhaps. So an iPad was taken and other cellphones," said Ravalin.

The greed eventually led Visalia police to catch two suspects-- John Hooks Jr. and Robert Burns. Hooks was a janitor with the district. Police said he broke into the elementary and middle schools he was cleaning-- after hours.

"Through further investigation, there was some DNA evidence that was left behind that was analyzed, as well as fingerprints, that led to the identity of two suspects," said Damon Maurice, Visalia Police Department.

Police said the suspects used janitorial access codes to get into the rooms. The ones they couldn't access, they forcibly broke into.

"Things have to be replaced, our kids have to suffer for that and it's not fair," said a concerned parent.

Police said the suspects stole everything from bluetooth speakers to iPads. Some of the equipment has been recovered-- totaling thousands of dollars. District leaders said they are reviewing security protocols.

Ravalin said, "When you learn of that you regroup, you study what you're doing and you determine if you can mitigate it."

Hoping to "break out" with some new ideas to prevent "break-ins" in the future.
Related Topics:
newstheftarrestvisaliatulare countyVisalia
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