In Darrington, vandals caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage at the elementary school, and lesser damage at the high school. (Darrington School District)

Teen charged after $500K vandalism spree at two schools

DARRINGTON — Revenge may have been on the mind of one of the juveniles arrested for causing an estimated $500,000 in damage to the elementary and high school campus over the weekend.

Snohomish County sheriff’s deputies were told the 13-year-old suspect was suspended from school before classes ended in June. A school employee said the girl reportedly was overheard making statements about getting even with the principal, according to new court records obtained by The Daily Herald.

Principal Tracy Franke’s office was severely damaged during the hours the three juveniles went undetected in the building. They smashed her computers, cut up photographs of her family and children, and destroyed student files, sheriff’s deputy James Miner wrote in his arrest report.

Prosecutors on Thursday charged the 13-year-old with second-degree burglary and first-degree malicious mischief, both felonies.

The case, one of the most costly vandalism sprees in the county in recent history, remains under investigation. The other suspects, a 14-year-old girl and a 10-year-old boy, have not been charged. Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Tim Geraghty said Friday his office is waiting for additional reports.

The pair reportedly admitted to taking part in the break-in and vandalism. They allegedly told police the 13-year-old was behind the plan to sneak into the school. She broke out a window, crawled inside and let them into the school, Miner’s report said. The girl was armed with a metal pipe and other tools.

The 13-year-old declined to speak with police, the deputy wrote. She was booked into the Denney Juvenile Justice Center. A judge ordered her held on $50 bail. She is expected to answer to the charges in the coming days. Geraghty said he plans to request higher bail.

School district officials would not confirm for a reporter whether the 13-year-old had been suspended from school.

The vandalism was discovered Monday morning when maintenance and custodial staff arrived on campus.

Surveillance footage from the school’s security cameras showed the juveniles breaking the high school’s office window around 9 a.m. Sunday. The elementary/middle school bore the brunt of the attack.

Dozens of windows were broken, 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, police reported.

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 damage was so significant that insurance adjusters and clean up companies had to be called in to start on repairs,” Miner wrote.

Insurance is expected to cover the costs. A insurance representative estimated those expenses to be around $500,000, according to court papers.

The new school year for students is scheduled to begin Sept. 6.

“We’re making some good progress,” district business manager McKenzie Boyd said Friday. “We’re working on getting things repaired and finishing the cleanup. We’re hopeful that school will still start on time, but as progress continues that timeline might change.”

Reporter Kari Bray contributed to this story.

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

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