Police seeing more vandalism, threats at Valley schools

Alyssa Flores Image
Thursday, November 18, 2021
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Valley police departments say they've seen increased threats and vandalism on school campuses.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Valley police departments say they've seen increased threats and vandalism on school campuses.

"To the kids that are thinking about doing this, this is not a harmless prank," said Visalia Police Sgt. Mike Short.

A 12-year-old boy is now facing a felony charge after Visalia PD says he made back-to-back threats Wednesday morning to Riverway Elementary and Mt. View Elementary.

"The caller states that the school was going to be shot up," said Sgt. Short. "So we sent more detectives to that school."

Before the school day was over, detectives say they tracked down the student who made the calls at another campus.

"They were able to trace the phone number back to the student at La Joya Middle School," said Sgt. Short. "Our youth service officer that was at that school was immediately able to contact the student and immediately detained him."

Shorts says it was a prank taken too far.

"We did not find the firearms on his person or at his residence when we contacted his parents," he said.

But now they are warning kids and their parents that phony threats can end in serious criminal charges or severe fines.

In Kingsburg, law enforcement is also investigating criminal student pranks, particularly the "devious licks" or "devil licks" trend on TikTok.

"The toilet paper dispensers just being ripped off, dryers or paper towel dispensers just being ripped off the walls," said Detective Derek Gagnon of the Kingsburg Police Department. "Mirrors being damaged in the bathrooms."

Kingsburg Police first began seeing vandalism at Memorial Park and have since seen students at three of Kingsburgs schools causing thousands of dollars in damage. It's destruction that's been seen across other schools in the Valley.

Kids caught in the act of vandalism in Coalinga faced expulsion.

Kingsburg PD says they will take a zero-tolerance approach.

"I don't think kids are aware that what they are doing is criminal," said Detective Gagnon.

Parents can be held responsible for their kids taking part in these costly pranks. Kids can face criminal damage, battery, larceny, and disorderly conduct charges and be hit with big bills for repairs.

Kingsburg PD still hasn't found the people responsible for the vandalism at their schools or at Memorial Park. They are asking anyone with information to contact them.