Police investigate suburban school break-in

January 31, 2008 10:00:49 AM PST
A south suburban school opened Thursday morning despite a break-in overnight. Police arrested three people for burglarizing a school for children with special needs.

It is those three people remain in custody. Police have not yet said whether they have been charged. We do not know if they are teenagers or adults that police investigators are saying are responsible for this vandalism.

Meanwhile, at Garfield Elementary, despite the incident, students still had class Thursday morning. Parents brought their children to school, hoping the visible signs of damage wouldn't disrupt their day too much.

"It kind of shocked me when I saw it on the TV," said Larry Ware, parent.

It was Wednesday night around 11 p.m. when the Garfield Elementary security alarm alerted police of a break-in. Officers quickly arrived to find windows broken, classrooms ransacked, computers and other electronic equipment strewn around the building.

Thursday morning, work crews arrived to clean up the vandalism, and administrators at the cooperative special needs school hope the incident won't have a negative effect on their 100 or so students who rage in age from 5 to 22.

"We pulled some of the crew from our other buildings. They got the buildings cleaned up. Several windows were broken. They got it boarded up. The kids won't notice too much of a difference today. That's what we're trying to accomplish," said Ambrose Panico, school administrator.

Garfield administrators say they are still trying to make a list of what they believe to be gone and/or missing.

As far as police are concerned, they didn't have a difficult time finding these individuals. They say one was still hiding in the building. Another returned to the area after the vandalism to get his car. A third was roaming around the area because he was lost and walked up to a police officer to ask for directions.