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Troopers: Charges pending for three in Two Rivers school theft, vandalism

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Posted: Sunday, June 9, 2013 7:02 pm | Updated: 3:58 pm, Mon Jun 10, 2013.

FAIRBANKS—Two adults and a juvenile could soon be facing charges for the theft and vandalism last month at Two Rivers Elementary School.

Alaska State Troopers reported on Sunday that investigators had contacted three people — two 18-year-olds and a 14-year-old, all from Two Rivers — and that charges of burglary, theft and criminal mischief have been forwarded to the Fairbanks District Attorney's Office and the Department of Juvenile Justice.

The names of the three people were not listed in the trooper report posted online on Sunday because the charges are under review. The people will be named when charges are filed, troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters said Sunday.

Video footage from May 26 taken by a surveillance camera was made available to media outlets, which then broadcast the video and posted it on their websites. That led to troopers receiving multiple tips from citizens, according to troopers.

About $7,000 in electronics equipment was stolen, including nine iPads and multiple iPod Touch devices.

The three also reportedly vandalized several classrooms and common areas and, according to an earlier comment by the spokesman for the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District, urinated and defecated in places other than toilets. Several outside windows were also broken.

Damage to the school, located on Two Rivers Road at 18 Mile Chena Hot Springs Road, was estimated at about $10,000.

“An investigation revealed those three suspects had broken into the school and vandalized the interior of the school and stole multiple items from the school,” according to a posting online Sunday from troopers. “Troopers were able to recover multiple items that were taken from the school.”

In the video, the three people can be seen at 4:30 a.m. climbing up a service ladder on the north side of the school building and then, at 5:15 a.m. descending carrying small bags and casually walking away.

School district spokesman Bill Bailey said, in an emailed statement Sunday evening, that the 1 minute, 22 second video resulted in more than 6,000 YouTube views and numerous leads that were reported to troopers. Publicly posting surveillance footage was a first for the district, he said.

“The support of local news outlets and community interest is what generated the leads and helped sustain the ongoing buzz about the vandalism,” Bailey said.

“Vandalism to schools and public facilities isn't just a crime,” he said. “It’s offensive to the greater community and it’s basically like taking money out of the pockets of property taxpayers. Taxpayers fund major maintenance of schools.”

Two Rivers Elementary School was also the site of a burglary of electronics equipment just over a year ago. In that case, which was reported on May 21, 2012, whoever entered the school took seven Apple laptop computers and 14 iPads.

Contact managing editor Rod Boyce at 459-7585. Follow him on Twitter: @FDNMeditor.

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