Bangs Police Chief Ricky Minica says more than one person is responsible for the vandalism, and that he knows the suspects are residents of Bangs, ruling out the theory that students at a rival school are to blame.
A piece of used gum leads police to believe that the vandalism was premeditated. Minica says someone wedged the gum into a door lock at the back of the school, allowing them to enter the building after it was closed.
The suspects face felony arson, felony burglary, and felony criminal mischief charges.
Minica does not expect to make any arrests Tuesday.
Monday, Sept. 29
Hundreds of books lie destroyed on the floor, covering the carpet in the library. Eggs, stolen from the cafeteria, are strewn across every imaginable surface. The cafeteria itself is covered in food, and the majority of what's left in the pantry has to be tossed out.
"You could see the shock on every teacher's face ... when they came in today and looked at it," said Bill Foster, the superintendent of Bangs ISD.
Someone broke into the school through a back door sometime between Saturday and Sunday morning and ransacked the hallways, classrooms and library. An attempt to start a fire in the library was unsuccessful but the efforts left behind significant smoke damage. Police spent nine hours on the campus Sunday investigating the crime.
School employees toured the trashed hallways this morning, most in disbelief.
"It's horrible," said Joy Levisay, fine arts teacher at Stephens Elementary School. "I can't imagine anybody wanting to come in and do something (like this). They are evil, whoever did this."
After assessing the damage, they pitched in to help, hoping to get things back to normal as quickly as possible.
"We're strong, we're going to revamp, and we're going to get it right back to where we were," Levisay said. "We're going to come right back to where we were and I think it's going to bring us back closer as a family and it's going to make us stronger and more proud of who we are."
The cafeteria and classrooms will be open on Tuesday, and the library should be back in use later this week.
- Watch video of the damage