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2 teens arrested in 3 vandalism cases at Saratoga Springs school

Two teens accused of breaking into Sage Hills Elementary School and vandalizing it three different times in January have been arrested.
Two teens accused of breaking into Sage Hills Elementary School and vandalizing it three different times in January have been arrested.
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SARATOGA SPRINGS — Two teens accused of breaking into Sage Hills Elementary School and vandalizing it three different times in January have been arrested.

The boys, ages 14 and 15, are accused of breaking into the school at night, stealing Kindles, overturning desks and bookcases and creating a scare among many parents by posting graffiti that seemed to indicate some type of countdown.

Some parents were reportedly ready to keep their kids home from the Saratoga Springs school, 3033 Swainson Ave., on Monday fearing possible violence, said city spokesman Owen Jackson.

But with the arrests of the two teens believed to have committed the crimes, Jackson said police interviewed the boys and have told Alpine School District administrators that they do not believe there was any kind of plot.

"The school did send out a message that it wasn't a threat," Jackson said.

The vandalism began sometime during the night of Jan. 5 through the early morning hours of Jan. 6. The teens allegedly used an object, possibly a pole, to force either a window or door open, Jackson said. Police say they then overturned desks and bookcases and vandalized rooms in the school but did not take anything.

On the night of Jan. 25, police believe the teens returned to the school and broke into a portable classroom. During that incident, the boys took Kindles in addition to vandalizing the room. They also scratched a message into the door that stated, "7 days down," Jackson said.

The following night, the boys broke into another portable classroom, he said. Again, they intruders ransacked the room and scratched a message into the door that stated, "6 days down."

"At that point there was concern among some of the parents and the staff that there might be a threat or a countdown on the school," Jackson said.

Police have since learned that the boys left the messages as "their marker or signature."

The school district began installing video surveillance cameras on Monday, Jackson said. He did not know if they played a role in leading police to the boys or if it was more because of other anonymous people stepping forward.

When investigators interviewed the boys on Saturday, they discovered video and other evidence of the crimes on their cellphones, he said. There was also evidence that the missing Kindle tablets had been destroyed.

"The tablets, there is evidence that they were actually destroyed using a bow and arrow by the individuals," Jackson said.

The damage caused by the teens totaled approximately $4,200, he said.

It was unknown Sunday why the boys targeted Sage Hills or whether they are former students. Police were also continuing to investigate whether there were any others involved.

The boys were booked into juvenile detention for investigation of vandalism and trespassing.

Email: preavy@deseretnews.com, Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam