ROSEVILLE (CBS13) — Five teenage boys are in custody on hate crime charges for vandalizing two schools in Roseville with racist and hate-filled messages that included swastikas, the KKK symbol, and the n-word.
The graffiti has been cleaned up at both schools, but Roseville police say it was so vulgar and so derogatory that they believe it was it done to instill fear into those going to school and those who live nearby.
“You are just speechless. You just can’t believe it. It’s just disgust.ing,” said Kevin Schumacher, the lead custodian at Buljan Middle School
Schumacher was the first to discover the damage as he came to work Sunday morning.
Roseville police say the teenage boys, all of whom are white, broke into the school around 1 a.m. Sunday through a door that was being repaired. That got them into the gym, which they vandalized with a fire extinguisher. They then went onto to graffiti the locker room and a back office, breaking windows and stealing a cash box.
“(They) spray-painted hateful things and some derogatory things on the portables in the back,” explained Lt. Doug Blake with Roseville P.D. He said the graffiti was “significant and extensive,” as well as incredibly offensive.
“If you saw on face-value what was painted here. I think it is sufficient in and of itself to say it was one of the worst crimes, something that we just don’t tolerate on any level,” said Lt. Blake, who said they also found what was described as “Northern Hispanic-type gang tagging.”
Lt. Blake says the five juveniles do not live in the area. They were identified by police based on previous police encounters.
“Based on that previous experience, (an) officer decided to go see if those kids may have been involved, or knew who could have been involved, something along those lines, and then one thing lead to another, and we got them in custody,” explained Lt. Blake.
Police found some of the stolen property at the home where the kids were staying, the spray cans used and even paint on their hands.
But for Schumacher, who had spent hours cleaning up the campus, he says his bigger concern is that the racist messages came from young kids.
“Where are they getting this from?” asked Schumacher.
The five suspects were booked into juvenile hall for vandalism, conspiracy, burglary and hate crime charges.
Police say they will now try to figure out their motive.
“With five suspects we don’t know, and with some marginal cooperation, it’s going to be really tough for us to get down to the bottom of this, what they were doing, why they were doing it and what they sought to achieve,” admitted Lt. Blake.