The trail of destruction is still evident more than a month after vandals struck Long Beach High School. Police say two teenagers face charges of burglary and felony malicious mischief in the case. The suspects are accused of vandalizing the girls' weight room and a storage unit over the Christmas break.
Some of the damage has already been cleaned-up, but the room is still a mess. There is maroon-colored paint splattered all over the floor, walls, and work-out equipment. The weight room is used by female athletes and faculty members at Long Beach High School.
"Just now is the first time I've walked in and it's awful. It's really heartbreaking, because we spent so much time in here and obviously so much money because it's so nice and now it's gone," said Sally Wilson, a Long Beach High athlete.
Police believe vandals broke into the girls' weight room at the end of December. The five-gallon buckets of field paint were stored in a closet. The paint ruined the motors in the treadmill and the stationary bicycle. A laptop computer was also destroyed.
"I just don't know why anyone would do this. This is a place we obviously worked really hard to get," said Tabitha Johnson, who plays softball and volleyball at Long Beach High School.
Over at the field storage unit, the vandals allegedly poured grass seeds into a lawn mover and spray-painted graffiti along the walls and sports equipment. Police say they arrested two teenage boys on January 20. That's when authorities believe the same boys broke into the teacher's lounge and damaged a vending machine.
Principal Peter Dabbs confirmed that one of the suspects is a 16-year-old student at Long Beach High School. The other is a 13-year-old student at Harper McCaughan Elementary. Dabbs said those students will face disciplinary action based on the school district's policy.
In the meantime, district leaders are concerned about how to clean up the mess and repair all the damage.
"There was $40,000 worth of damage and our insurance has a $50,000 deductible, so they're not going to cover any of this. So we need to try to find some way to raise money or equipment and just any type of help to try and get this cleaned up," said Dabbs.
Dabbs is appealing for volunteers to help remove the paint stains and get the weight room back in shape.
"For softball and baseball, our seasons are just starting and we need all the time we can get practicing on the field and working out. So any help would be great," said Sally Wilson.
If you would like help with the clean-up or make a donation, just call Long Beach High School at (228) 863-6945.
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