String Of Local Break-ins Put East Texas Schools On High Alert - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

10/22/07-Wood County

String Of Local Break-ins Put East Texas Schools On High Alert

East Texas school districts are on high alert Monday after reports of thieves breaking into several area schools.  Monday morning, Alba-Golden ISD contacted KLTV 7 saying it was forced to cancel classes after thieves hit three of its buildings Sunday night.  KLTV later learned it was not the only school district affected by this crime spree.  Wednesday night, thieves hit Rains ISD, stealing several hundreds dollars in cash.  Friday morning, Kaufman ISD was the next to be burglarized.  Then not once, but twice this weekend thieves hit Edgewood ISD.  

It was an early morning phone call, Alba-Golden Superintendent Larry Tucker said a school district never wants to hear.

"We all feel violated when we are broken into, whether it is our homes, or schools," said Tucker. 

When he got to work Monday morning, Tucker said he found the administration building torn apart.  There was broken glass and papers everywhere.

"They pulled everything out of the filing cabinets and rambled through everything they could find in the cabinets looking for cash," said Tucker. 

The thieves hit Alba-Golden's intermediate and high school next, Tucker said, looking for money.  It was such a mess, Tucker said he was forced to cancel classes.

"We felt like with the breakage and the glass, there was a lot of glass scattered, that it was probably best we didn't have classes," said Tucker.

"We pretty much found everything destroyed," said Edgewood Superintendent Jack Shellnutt.

It was a similar scene at Edgewood ISD Sunday, when Shellnutt found his intermediate school in shambles.

"There were papers and files everywhere," said Shellnut.  "We are still going through those right now, to see what is missing because it is student information." 

After spending all day Sunday cleaning up the mess, the thieves hit again.

"The high school has been broken into this (Monday) morning," said Shellnut. 

Both Tucker and Shellnut say the thieves got away with a few hundred dollars in cash and hope the thieves are caught, before another school district is torn apart.

The Wood County Sheriff's Department, the agency investigating the Alba-Golden break-ins, said it believes the thieves were familiar with the campus.  They also said it's too early to say if all four school district break-ins are related.  They do plan to meet with the other agencies involved to go over the crime scenes.  Classes at Alba-Golden will resume Tuesday.

Molly Reuter, Reporting.


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