Friday, January 29, 1999
Police charge June vandals
Three former eighth-grade students will appear before a judge in the Concord District Court, charged with "destruction or injury to a schoolhouse" as a result of the spray paint vandalism at the Carlisle Public Schools on the early morning of June 19.
A plague of vandalism
Carlisle residents were shocked by the sight of large, spray painted "98" signs and other graffiti on the playground and roof of Spalding Building last June 19. They were also angered that repair and cleanup of the vandalism would cost Carlisle taxpayers a tidy $6,400 that was not included in an already strained school budget. The police department's investigation at that time did not yield enough evidence to seek a charge against any individual or group, and the case was closed.
On Halloween night two school windows were smashed and graffiti painted on playground equipment. Residents were outraged and frustrated by the continued vandalism. Though there was some sense of closure when that case was resolved by the identification of a responsible individual, the unsolved June spray painting still rankled. However, it was information obtained by Lieut. John Sullivan in the investigation of the Halloween vandalism that enabled police to reopen the investigation of the June 19 vandalism.
An eight-week investigation
Officer Steven Mack was assigned to the reopened June case in November, and for the eight weeks following the resolution of the Halloween case he followed leads provided in that vandalism investigation. His efforts were successful, and on January 22 three Carlisle boys were charged with the June vandalism. A conference with the boys, their parents, and the parents' lawyers had been scheduled a week previously, but had to be cancelled because of icy road conditions. Had the three students been adults they would have faced the possible punishment of a $1,000 fine and/or imprisonment for not more than two years. As matters now stand, Carlisle Police Chief Dave Galvin indicated that his department will recommend restitution for the damage and community service, but that the Concord District Court judge who hears the case will determine its disposition.
When questioned earlier this week Galvin said none of the three had been involved in the Halloween vandalism, and that none had been considered serious suspects in June, and were therefore not questioned at that time.
The boys' story
According to Galvin's press release, the boys stated that two or three days before the incident they decided to do a prank at the school which would include spray painting the school with field paint. At 3 a.m. on the morning of June 19 all three met at the intersection of Bedford Road and Brook Street, two of them having arranged a sleepover to be near the meeting place. They proceeded to Spalding Field and once there gained access to an equipment shed by dismantling the locking hinge. From there they went on to spray paint the basketball backboard, playground area, roof and outside public phone. This done, they returned to their respective beds. Galvin said the boys claimed they used the playing field paint because they thought it would wash off and not cause any permanent damage.
The date of the court hearing has not been set.
© 1999 The Carlisle Mosquito