Vandalism, theft at El Cerrito middle school being investigated as hate crime

Korematsu Middle School vandalism, theft being investigated as hate crime
Photo: Google Maps

El Cerrito police are seeking the public’s help in solving a case involving incidents of vandalism and theft at Korematsu Middle School since Monday, Nov. 15.

Last week, school staff noticed damages to some school windows likely caused by a BB gun or sling shot, and then this morning staff found additional damaged windows and other vandalism, police said. Also, a vandal wrote derogatory messages about the principal in pen as well as race-based messages directed toward Black people on the concrete near the upper basketball court, police said.

The suspects also broke a light fixture in the quad and stole the letter “L” from the sign in front of the school.

The principal estimated total damages to the school of at least $16,000.

School staff have already begun the process of removing the graffiti. An ECPD detective is investigating the case as a hate crime.
“Community members around Korematsu Middle School are asked to check their surveillance cameras for any suspicious activity during the time of occurrence,” police said. “If you locate any video, it can be uploaded here.”

Anyone with information regarding these incidents are asked to contact Detective Ryan Trac at (510) 215-4419 or Acting Detective Sergeant Gilbert Tang at (510) 215-4446.​ Anonymous tips can be provided ​by phone or by email at or Crime Stoppers Tip Line: (510) 799-8255.