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School buses, parked vehicles damaged in two vandalism cases in Arlington
ARLINGTON — Gary Moffett knew something bad had happened when he opened the gate to Arlington School District's bus yard.
"I saw a couple of wipers hanging down," Moffett said. "I didn't notice the glass. I've never seen anything like this before."
Upon further investigation, the district bus mechanic noticed that the damage appeared to be much worse — 40 school buses had been damaged.
Authorities said that sometime between Friday, July 30 and Monday, Aug. 2, somebody broke into the district's bus yard, located in the 19000 block of 63rd Avenue NE, and damaged bus windows, windshields, seats and windshield wipers.
Arlington Police Cmdr. Brian DeWitt initially estimated the damage to be at least $50,000. Andrea Conley, spokeswoman for the Arlington School District, said that officials do not yet have a firm estimate on those damages, but added that it was at least $10,000.
There were no suspects in the crime as of 2 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 2.
Cheryl Power, supervisor of transportation for the district, said that the individual or individuals started by throwing rocks at the buses. Those involved in the crime pulled down and bent wiper blades on the majority of the damaged buses. They even went inside some buses and kicked out front windows, Power said.
Vandals even took a security camera mounted in one bus. The camera is used by the driver to monitor students.
But school buses were not the only property to be damaged during the weekend.
At least 25 parked vehicles were also damaged in two nearby residential neighborhoods. Many of the vehicles had their tires slashed. Additionally, a number of signs and lawn ornaments were also vandalized.
Whether damage to those vehicles was related to vandalism at the district bus yard was unclear as of Aug. 2.
City of Arlington spokeswoman Kristin Banfield said that police were holding two teenage suspects in connection with the vehicle and property damage in the two neighborhoods. The teens, 13 and 14, are from Arlington.
Officers responded to a report of suspicious activity in the High Clover Park and Heartland neighborhoods at approximately 4:20 a.m. on Aug. 2.
Banfield said that an alert resident provided identifying information that led to the juveniles.
The public is being asked to contact the Arlington Police Department at 360-403-3400 if they have any information in the case.