FAIRHOPE, Ala. (WKRG) — Five schools in Baldwin County have been broken into, burglarized and vandalized over the last couple of weeks, three of them over the long holiday weekend. Thousands of dollars worth of property was stolen or destroyed.
Bayside Academy and Gulf Shores High school were the first to be hit. Early Friday morning police believe the same group hit Daphne, Fairhope and Foley high schools.
Surveillance cameras inside Fairhope High School captured a group of five individuals casually walking the halls around 1:30 a.m. Friday morning. “At one point they do remove a glass case and take a bronze statue, a pirate that’s valued somewhere between $3,000 and $5,000,” Fairhope Police Lt. Shane Nolte said.
All of the suspects have masks, some are wearing gloves and there’s something else, “They were in absolutely no hurry,” Nolte said. “They’re all wearing pretty much the same clothing that has Bayside on it.”
Authorities believe the Bayside Academy clothing was stolen during an earlier burglary. The same clothing was worn by the suspects in Daphne. “They have certainly been there before,” said Sgt. Jason Vannoy as he watched security footage from Daphne High School.
Around 2:30 a.m. the same morning, four of the suspects show up at Daphne High School and while they spent time inside the field house — the major damage was done outside. “A lot of damage to the athletic fields,” says Vannoy. “Spray painted and a lot of that requires the turf to be replaced so it will involve several thousands dollars worth of damage.”
In Foley, the mascot spray-painted, the windows and building near the cafeteria, a kaleidoscope of colors. Foley Police say a shed was broken into but they are still trying to determine if anything was stolen.
“Just appears to be young adults or older teenagers that are making bad decisions,” Nolte said.
All of the suspects face felony charges of criminal mischief, theft and burglary, and if it turns out they are underage, they won’t be the only ones that will have to pay for their crimes. “If in fact they are juveniles, the parents can be made to pay the restitution,” Vannoy said.
Bayside Academy released a statement Wednesday afternoon saying the clothing worn by the suspects was stolen from their school and there is no evidence the vandals are affiliated with Bayside. Police ask if you recognize any of the individuals to please give them a call.