SPOKANE, Wash. — A Spokane Police officer and his K9 partner helped arrest three teenagers accused of vandalizing Salk Middle School.
According to the SPD report, the suspects had been in the kitchen, opening containers of spices, oats and other pantry items. The suspects spread them all over the school, filling drinking fountains and hallways with them.
Officer Todd Belitz and his K9 Zeus responded to a tripped alarm and swept through 100,000 square feet of space in the hunt for possible danger. Belitz said he had no idea teenagers were involved.
"You don't know if the suspect is armed, I didn't know if any of them was armed with a gun," Belitz said.
Not aware of the cause, Belitz and Zeus had to treat every hall, every room and every corner with the utmost of precaution.
"It's a huge public safety concern, it's a huge concern for us... and that's why we're (on patrol) at night," Belitz said.
Upon arriving at the scene, Belitz said Zeus's instincts kicked in immediately. According to Belitz, Zeus stayed on scent. But the trail was continuous, if not confusing.
"You have to stay focused and accomplish the task, which is to find whoever is in there and take them into custody," Belitz said.
Their sweep of the middle school eventually led Belitz and Zeus to the roof. Belitz said they had decided to search the roof because there were no more rooms left to investigate.
Officers said that is where they found the three teenage suspects.
"We have a nice school here," Belitz stated. "For someone to do what they did, and vandalize it, is a big concern and a big crime."
All three juvenile males were booked for second degree burglary and first degree malicious mischief. Damages to the school are estimated to be tens of thousands of dollars.