East Baton Rouge Parish deputies arrested three people who broke into and ransacked two Baton Rouge schools early Sunday, causing “extensive” damage to one, a Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman said.
The trio broke into LaBelle Aire Elementary School, 12255 Tams Drive, through a classroom window at about 4:20 a.m. Sunday, tripping the alarm and alerting authorities, sheriff’s spokeswoman Casey Rayborn Hicks said in an email.
While deputies were en route, school security personnel were watching surveillance video at neighboring Belaire High School that showed the three had broken into that school as well, Hicks said.
Two of the suspects, DeAnthony Lathan, 19, and a 12-year-old boy, surrendered before sheriff’s deputies unleashed police dogs into the school, Hicks said.
After searching the building, deputies found the third person, DyMarco Hills, 17, on the roof, Hicks said.
The Baton Rouge Fire Department provided a ladder for deputies to get to the roof and capture Hills, she said.
“The damage to the school was extensive,” Hicks said, including multiple rooms and offices forcefully entered and ransacked, broken doors and windows and smashed vending machines.
Deputies recovered $22 in cash, five cellphones, six iPods and a projector stolen from the high school, Hicks said.
East Baton Rouge school system spokeswoman Susan Nelson said Sunday afternoon she did not know of any items taken from LaBelle Aire.
She said the thieves smashed glass and damaged door frames but left expensive items like computers and a big-screen television undamaged at the elementary school.
“The video footage shows them breaking into offices and closets, clearly looking for something but not really taking anything,” Nelson said.
Lathan and Hills were booked into Parish Prison on two counts each of simple burglary and simple criminal damage to property and one count each of theft and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
The 12-year-old boy was arrested on two counts of simple burglary and simple criminal damage to property and one count of theft, but was released to his parents, Hicks said.
Lathan and Hills also confessed to burglarizing both schools March 27, Hicks said.
While Hicks said the damage exceeded $5,000, Nelson said she did not have an estimate yet.
Baton Rouge police also responded to the school, which is located near North Flannery Road, between Florida Boulevard and South Choctaw Drive, Hicks said.
Nelson said both schools will be open Monday during normal hours, though some people may have to be moved around because of the damage and cleanup work.
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