New windows are installed in the library at Darrington Elementary School on Aug. 31, a month after vandals broke in and tore apart classrooms, broke windows and emptied fire extinguishers — causing almost $1 million in damage. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

New windows are installed in the library at Darrington Elementary School on Aug. 31, a month after vandals broke in and tore apart classrooms, broke windows and emptied fire extinguishers — causing almost $1 million in damage. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Second teen charged after $1 million in school vandalism

Two teens now face felony charges for damage at two schools in Darrington last summer.

DARRINGTON — A second teen has been charged with felony crimes connected to a vandalism spree that caused roughly $1 million in damage to Darrington schools over the summer.

The girl, who turned 15 this month, is expected to be in court in a few weeks to answer to the charges, including second-degree burglary and first-degree malicious mischief.

Prosecutors allege that she was part of a trio who broke into the elementary and high school campus July 31. The teen was charged late last week.

Another girl, 13, is already charged with burglary and malicious mischief. A 10-year-old boy also allegedly took part in the crime spree. Charges have not been filed against him and the case remains under review.

Under the statute, it is presumed that because of the boy’s age he is incapable of committing a crime. Prosecutors would have to prove that he has sufficient capacity to understand the offense and know that it was wrong.

The older girl and the boy told police the 13-year-old was behind the plot to break into the school. She reportedly armed herself with a metal pipe, busted out a window and let the other two in, according to police reports.

She declined to speak with sheriff’s deputies. Her trial has been rescheduled to December.

The girl may have had revenge on her mind. She was suspended from school before classes ended in June, according to court papers. She allegedly was overheard making statements about getting even with the principal.

Principal Tracy Franke’s office was heavily damaged during the estimated six hours the juveniles went undetected in the building. Her computer was smashed, photographs of her family and children were cut up, and student files were destroyed, according to police reports.

Every window in the building except for two were broken out, along with trophy cases. The vandals destroyed the school’s fish tank and wrote graffiti in paint and marker on walls and desks. The graffiti included racial slurs and obscene drawings.

There also was substantial water damage to several classrooms. Staff found standing water in the hallways. A plugged-up sink with a faucet left to run was to blame. The vandals also set off fire extinguishers in several rooms, including the office and gym.

The initial cost of repairs was estimated at $500,000. Once contractors started their work, the estimate jumped up to nearly $1 million. The district’s insurance company is expected to foot the bill.

Contractors worked long hours to get the buildings ready for the start of school last month. The community also rallied. Volunteers helped teachers get their classrooms ready for students.

Classes were able to start on time.

Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; hefley@heraldnet.com.

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