Five juveniles have been arrested in connection with a break-in at a school near Santa Rosa on Saturday in which classrooms were vandalized and a hamster was tortured and killed,a Sonoma County sheriff’s lieutenant said this morning.The suspects, ages 11 to 14, broke into and vandalized a classroom at Northwest Prep, located at 2590 Piner Road in unincorporated Sonoma County west of Santa Rosa, Sgt. Mike Raasch said.
Two windows of an adjacent classroom were also broken, Raasch said.The classrooms on the campus, formerly that of Piner Elementary School, are used for a YMCA after-school program, Raasch said.The intruders turned over a refrigerator, broke windows, tagged the outside of the classroom with gang graffiti, tore up the school’s vegetable garden and tortured a pet hamster, Raasch said.”It was bad. They did three different cruel things to it,” Raasch said.
A woman playing volleyball with her family at the school heard the sound of glass breaking around 7 p.m. Saturday and saw the juveniles running from the portable classrooms a short time later, Raasch said.The woman investigated, saw the vandalism and called the sheriff’s office, Raasch said.Sheriff’s deputies located and detained the juveniles at Sam Drive and Dayton Street within Santa Rosa city limits, and the woman identified some of them as the suspects, Raasch said.
The juveniles do not attend Northwest Prep School, Raasch said.Two 11-year-old boys were arrested on suspicion of felony vandalism and released to their mothers, Raasch said. Two 13-year-old boys and a 14-year-old boy were arrested for burglary and vandalism and booked into juvenile hall, Raasch said. The 13-year-old boys were also arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty, Raasch said.Northwest Prep is in the Piner-Olivet Union School District and serves 143 students in grades 7-12, according to its website. Principal Keith Muelrath was not immediately available for comment.
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