Vandals caused several thousands of dollars in damages at Cherokee Washington High School late Wednesday night.
According to Cherokee Superintendent Dr. John Chalstrom, the perpetrators either forced their way into WHS, or hid in the school before it was locked down after the custodial staff left for the day at about 11 p.m.
The vandals ransacked several offices, broke out 30-40 interior windows, stole an unknown amount of cash from the kitchen office, damaged several musical instruments and ransacked the band room, stole a television set, and demolished several computers, laptops, and digital cameras.
Chalstrom said the vandals used a heavy object such as a hammer or ball bat to inflict much of the damage, including breaking off padlocks securing cabinet drawers.
Chalstrom also reported that some classrooms and offices were left untouched by the vandals.
The Cherokee Police Department and Cherokee County Sheriff's Department were summoned to WHS at 5:58 a.m. Thursday when school officials discovered the damage. Investigating Police officers reported that unknown subjects were in the high school and an undetermined amount of damage was done to the school. The crime scenes were dusted for fingerprints and the investigation is continuing at this time as Police seek possible suspects.
The WHS student body was sequestered in the gym for about an hour Thursday morning as much of the damage was cleaned up by staff. The students returned to their classes by about 9 a.m., according to Chalstrom.
Authorities are asking the public and students for any information they might have or may learn leading to the prosecution of those responsible for such senseless acts of destruction.
"The wanton destruction and total disregard of public property is a disgrace," said an angry Chalstrom. "It's bad. We need to find who is responsible and punish them to the full extent of the law."
Chalstrom said the extensive damage to facilities and equipment is covered by insurance, less the deductible.