Olympia Police ask for tips in crime spree at three schools

One school burglarized, two had suspicious fires over winter break

lpemberton@theolympian.comJanuary 6, 2014 

On Saturday, local contractor Michael Harrison wipes down a portion of Nova School in Olympia that was damaged by a trash can fire.

ANDY HOBBS — Staff writer

Classes resumed Monday for students in Olympia where police are investigating crimes that occurred during winter break at three different schools.

One school was burglarized, and small fires were set at two others.

Anyone with information about any of the cases is asked to call Olympia Police at 360-753-8300. 

“The arsons were unusual,” Olympia Police spokeswoman Laura Wohl said. “It’s not terribly unusual to have one school tampered with just because nobody’s there.”

The activity included:

*A burglary at Reeves Middle School, 2200 Quince St. NE.

A classroom, a storage shed and a portable building were broken into, according to principal Aaron Davis.

“A neighbor was walking around Reeves with his dog, and noticed a window and screen were unsecured and there were pry marks,” Wohl said.

The break-in was discovered on New Year’s Day.  

“We have lost music equipment and a lot of technology (two desktop computers, a lap-top and more),” Davis wrote in an email to the Northeast Neighborhood Association.

Many of the items that were taken were “fairly low value,” Wohl said.

And the suspect left investigators a key piece of evidence: “They left the pry bar that they used,” Wohl said.

*A fire at Pioneer Elementary School, 1655 Carlyon Ave. SE.

A bale of hay was set on Friday either late Friday or early Saturday morning. Smoke penetrated through the building and set off fire alarms inside the school’s gym around 7:30 a.m. but the fire was just about out when crews arrived.

“They had to break through a small portion of an exterior wall that went into a storage area” to make sure the fire was out, district spokeswoman Rebecca Japhet said.

*A trash can was set on fire just outside of Nova School, 2020 22nd Ave. SE. The fire charred a wall from the ground to the roof’s overhang in the back of the school. The fire was discovered by a school staff member, but was out by the time crews arrived just after 9 a.m. Saturday.

 

Damage at both schools was estimated at a combined $15,000 according to Olympia fire officials. 

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