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Police arrest 9 juveniles for vandalism at old school

Police also expect to arrest one adult in connection with the vandalism spree

TUALATIN - Police have arrested nine juveniles in connection with a string of burglaries and incidents of graffiti, criminal mischief and arson that occurred at the old Tualatin Elementary School since late August.

The juveniles range in age from 11 to 15, and all will be charged with burglary and criminal mischief. A few of the juveniles will also be charged with arson.

Capt. Jeff Groth of the Tualatin Police Department said the connection between the juveniles, all boys, may be friendship or simply acquaintances. All but two of the boys are from Tualatin, one is a King City resident and another is a Tigard resident. The juveniles will be processed through Washington County Juvenile Court, Groth said.

Police are expecting to make one more arrest of an adult male who they believe, according to Groth, was the only suspect old enough to drive the boys to and from the old elementary school.

Investigations into the vandalism by patrol officers and school resource officers included multiple interviews with residents. Groth said from those interviews 'a bit of information likely snowballed' and led to the arrests.

Vandalism at the old school on Southwest Boones Ferry Road became a constant in the last four months. Graffiti on the walls, pulled fire alarms, arson and burglary forced several social service agencies that called the school home to relocate.

Tualatin Resource Center employees feared for their own safety after a break-in in September left the center's office trashed and two computers stolen. Those computers were recovered after the arrests of the juveniles, police said. The center has since moved to Tigard.

The Tigard-Tualatin School District's Caring Closet also has plans to relocate from its modulars at the old school site.

Last month the Tualatin School House Food Pantry was advised to move out of the old school building and into modulars. The move followed a case of arson at the site, which forced officials to consider safety and security issues with the old school.