A thief or thieves broke into Kennedy High School earlier this month, ransacking multiple rooms, including one for students with severe disabilities, and stealing a number of valuable items such as a donated 50-inch plasma TV, a laptop and even a student’s medication, according to teachers and police.
The incident was reported to police about 2:40 a.m. on Wednesday, March 11, about an hour after the school alarms sounded, according to a report from the Richmond Police Department.
A responding officer found four rooms had been broken into in one of the buildings. A padlock and metal chain from a gate into campus was broken off, and a metal bat was found near the smashed window of a classroom, police said.
In that classroom, the officer saw a computer monitor knocked off a desk and cabinet doors open. In another classroom, a dry erase board was knocked over.
Much damage occurred in the a room that is part of the health center, which was “ranksacked, with desk drawers pulled open and contents dumped on the floor,” police said.
“It appeared as if the suspect attempted to take a large, flat screen which was mounted to the west wall,” police said. “Several of the television wires were disconnected and…two small rooms located off of the west wall..had been ransacked with numerous items pulled off of a shelving unit and out of a cabinet and dumped onto the floor.”
A small pantry in the other small room had food items dumped on the floor and the refrigerator was left open.
Sal Morabito, the school’s special education teacher, told the Richmond Standard multiple valuable items were taken, including a 50-inch plasma TV that was donated by Chevron through DonorsChoose.org. Also taken were an iPad with its charger (locked in a cabinet) belonging to a non-verbal freshman, a non-ambulatory senior’s laptop (locked on a desk) containing four years of work, a district projector (locked to a cart), and the student’s meds, which caused that student to miss school until he got a refill, Morabito said.
That same student also lost $10 in coins he had been using for math counting, Morabito said.
“Apparently the thieves went through all the students’ desks since they took a quarter from one of them,” he added.
Police are meeting with teachers and administers to document all the losses as part of the investigation, Lt. Andre Hill said.
Morabito said the school has no surveillance cameras.
“It’s pathetic and cynical to steal from a school, but to ransack a classroom for students with severe disabilities…,” Morabito said. “The worker who replaced the broken window told me that the thieves had to work really hard to break the reinforced window.”