Vandals broke into three student-built garden sheds at East Valley High School and spray painted graffiti all over the walls early Wednesday.
That afternoon, students inspected the damage to the sheds in the school’s community garden.
“I bet who did this was 15 years old,” one of them said.
“They tagged us with our own paint,” said Lynnette Romney, the garden’s organizer. “They totally broke the doors. We have to replace the frames.”
Deputy Craig Chamberlin, public information officer of the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office, said three juvenile males have been arrested in connection with the incident and one at Plantes Ferry Park. They have been booked into Juvenile Detention on three counts of third-degree malicious mischief and three counts of second-degree burglary.
Chamberlain said if the damages are more than $750, those malicious mischief charges could be upgraded to second degree, which is a felony. Romney said she thinks the damages could be around $4,000 if they have to replace everything, $2,500 if they can just clean everything up and make do.
“There’s so much more they could have done,” she said. “I’m glad we had lazy taggers.”
Romney is heartbroken about the incident, mostly when she thinks about how hard students in the construction class worked to build the sheds.
“To see the looks on their faces this morning,” Romney said Wednesday. “This is the thing they are most proud of.”
She said she felt this was a life lesson to those students, now that they know what it feels like when someone does something like this.
“Any kid in the construction class will never be involved in vandalism,” she said.
She heard some students asking why someone would do this and some of them felt ashamed that it happened, worried it was someone who attended their school.
Chamberlin said the suspects aren’t connected to the district in any way.
“I saw this shed and I just started bawling,” Romney said.
A shed on the softball field was tagged as well. Maintenance workers painted over the graffiti on Wednesday. They could have painted the sheds, too, but the construction students wanted to take care of their sheds. They came out Thursday morning to re-paint them.
Romney said the vandals probably just walked right into the garden.
“It’s unlocked, it’s a community garden,” she said.