Juvenile arrested following vandalism, burglary at 2 schools in Jackson Co.

WAFF's D'Quan Lee reporting
Published: Aug. 20, 2023 at 2:22 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 20, 2023 at 8:47 PM CDT

JACKSON CO., Ala. (WAFF) - A juvenile has been arrested after vandalizing and burglarizing two schools in Jackson County.

According to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, a suspect vandalized Bryant Elementary School and North Sand Mountain School. On Thursday the suspect allegedly spray-painted bricks, windows, and the marquee at Bryant Elementary, while also breaking many windows. Police say the damage estimate totals over $15,000.

On Friday, the suspect wore the same clothing as the previous incident and was carrying a baseball bat and camouflaged bag, while vandalizing and burglarizing North Sand Mountain School. Police say the damage estimates $10,000 of damages to the inside of the school, breaking TV’s, computer equipment, trophies, etc.

On the same night or early morning, the suspect again went back to Bryant Elementary School and vandalized it with spray paint. Sheriff Rocky Harnen tells WAFF 48 that the suspect put up a makeshift scorecard, claiming 3 wins over investigators.

“Part of his graffiti was basically challenging us that we couldn’t catch him and put a score card up saying that North Sand Mountain minus one, Bryant minus two, him plus three. Cops zero,” the sheriff said.

On Saturday, the suspect arrived at North Sand Mountain School and attempted to burglarize and vandalize the school again. From there, the suspect was then arrested by members of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office prior to doing any additional damage to the school.

The suspect will be processed through the Juvenile Justice System.

Sunday afternoon, teachers and parents came together at the steps of Bryant elementary to pray for their community. James Chappelear is one of those parents, having lived in the area for decades. He and his family attended Bryant.

“I really just couldn’t believe that it would happen in our little hometown school here. We live just a block or two away and come by here all the time and its just a really great place for our kids to grow up.”

No name has been released due to their age. Harnen said when they arrested the suspect late Saturday evening, they found a torch on him. They believe he intended use it if he hadn’t been caught.

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