Tahlequah Daily Press

May 13, 2014

Teens accused of Keys school burglary play blame game

By JOSH NEWTON
Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — Two Cherokee County teenagers who allegedly went on a burglary and vandalism spree at Keys Elementary School this month are blaming each other, according to authorities.

Deputy Bob Lewandowski, the Keys school resource officer, worked with staff at the school to pinpoint the 13- and 16-year-old boys accused of breaking into the school. According to Lewandowski, the boys used school computers during the incident and logged onto their Facebook accounts, helping staff identify them.

Staff found the suspects had removed a locking mechanism on a gate and entered the school’s main building through an unlocked door. Classrooms and lockers were gone through and various desks were opened during the overnight incident. Cash was taken from a desk inside a main office.

The boys also found a key and were able to enter the cafeteria, according to Lewandowski. They stole a ball cap at some point, and checked into their Facebook accounts on school computers.

Staff at the school also discovered the suspects had entered the varsity concession stand, where they took a fire extinguisher and sprayed it all over the room.

School leaders pinpointed the suspects through the Facebook accounts. Lewandowski said the 13-year-old boy admitted he was involved, but placed the majority of blame on the 16-year-old. The 13-year-old told authorities he did not want to participate, but was pressured into it by the older boy. The younger boy admitted he had the stolen cap and some of the money taken from an office, but said the other boy had more of the cash.

The 13-year-old denied knowing of or participating in the vandalism at the concession stand, Lewandowski reported.

Lewandowski later met with the 16-year-old boy. The teen first denied his involvement, but changed his story when Lewandowski reminded him of the school’s surveillance cameras and the Facebook details found on school computers, the deputy reported.

According to Lewandowski, the 16-year-old admitted he was with the younger boy and confessed they entered the concession stand. He said the younger suspect was unhappy when he was unable to find some snacks to take, so the 13-year-old took a fire extinguisher and sprayed it in the stand.

The 16-year-old told authorities the younger boy had the idea of breaking into the school.

Lewandowski filed his report this week, and said the boys could face second-degree burglary and vandalism charges.

jnewton@tahlequahdailypress.com