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10/10/2012 2:11:00 PM Email this articlePrint this article 
Photo by Kacie Thrift
For the second time in less than two months, Vale Elementary has had a burglary without a noticeable forced entry. School staff noticed things had been taken from multiple rooms in the building on Oct. 1. A $1,000 reward has been offered to anyone who has information that leads to an arrest for the crime.
Vale Elementary robbed again
Kacie Thrift
Staff Writer



It was less than two months ago Vale Principal Sean McKenna reported a burglary at the school. Either a new perpetrator has found a way into the school or the same one has struck again.

Over the last weekend in September another burglary happened at Vale Elementary School and the same type of items were stolen as the incident on Aug. 19.

Cashmere Superintendent Glenn Johnson said he assumes the burglary took place on Sunday, Sept. 30 because a lot of people were in the building on Sept. 29. For the second time, the building seems to have no forced entry from the incident.

After the Aug. 19 burglary, Johnson said he had all the doors re-keyed to try and stop someone who was coming in with a key.

"We took precautions last time this happened and it happened again," Johnson said. "Now, there will be a reward for an arrest made."

The insurance company for Cashmere School District, Canfield, has decided to match the district for a reward. Each party has put in $500 toward a reward for anyone providing information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the guilty person or persons.

"Canfield and the school district wants to mitigate and prevent these things from happening and that's why Canfield was willing to match the dollars put up by the district," Johnson said.

Johnson said the school district turned the matter over to the Chelan County Sheriff's Office as soon as they discovered what happened on Oct. 1.

"From what I understand there was no forced entry into the school," said Undersheriff John Wisemore. "Whether that means there was an unlocked door or something else I just don't know but somehow someone got in there without a sign of forced entry."

McKenna said his laptop and a few other items were taken from his office during the last burglary. Wisemore said the list of stolen items for the most recent incident is still being looked at but he knows electronic items, including an iPod, were taken from multiple rooms. He said he is unsure of how many items stolen personally belonged to the students or staff and how many of the items belonged to the district.

The day after the Vale Elementary burglary, Icicle River Middle School IRMS in Leavenworth reported similar items were stolen. Wisemore said there was no sign of forced entry at (IRMS).

"The question is are these two cases related? The answer right now is I don't know, but we are definitely looking into that," Wisemore said. "If they are related we are going to look for similarities in what the person is looking for and how they potentially got in."

Wisemore said IRMS has security cameras and deputies are in the process of reviewing them to find footage of the burglary. He said the only difference they know of is they happened different nights.

At IRMS, the administrators believed the break in happened around 8:40 p.m. and 9:10 p.m. Similar to the first burglary at Vale, a teacher's laptop was stolen from IRMS.

Wisemore said burglaries have happened in all Chelan County schools at some point. He said he knows Chelan, Entiat, Wenatchee and Cascade have had similar incidents but not necessarily back to back like Vale has experienced in the last two months.

"We have seen this before, it does happen. I know there have been other incidents where they either found an open door or somehow gained access without damaging any property," Wisemore said.

An officer from the Chelan County Sheriff's Office has been working with Vale on the burglary and has spoken with them about ways to prevent burglaries. Wisemore said it is important for teachers to remember to lock doors when leaving the building. He also said janitors should make sure outside doors are locked and to not prop open doors.

"Propping open doors allows kids to come in and hide so it's really important for school staff to maintain the security of the school especially when there are only one or two people working," Wisemore said.

Johnson said he wants people to know if anyone has tips or information on the burglary to contact the Sheriff's Department at 667-6851.

Kacie Thrift may be reached at 782-3781 or reporter@cashmerevalleyrecord.com.



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