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Published: Thursday, 5/25/2006

3 teens caught breaking into safe at Waite

BY CHRISTINA HALL
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Three East Toledo teenagers were arrested yesterday after they broke into a safe at Waite High School and were found with cash and jewelry, such as class rings, police said.

The night janitor called 911 about 1:40 a.m. and said someone was inside the school, 301 Morrison Drive, after he heard pounding above him as he was working on the first floor.

Police surrounded the school and went to the second floor, where they heard voices coming from the office. They found the teenagers and took them into custody without incident.

Police said the boys broke into a safe and were in possession of knives and two-way radios belonging to the school. Police found 12 money bags containing an undetermined amount of cash, three hammers, and a screwdriver.

The boys in the burglary - two 17, the other 16 - were ordered held in the Lucas County Juvenile Detention Center after hearings in Juvenile Court. Each pleaded not guilty to the charges of delinquency in connection with aggravated burglary, safecracking, vandalism, and possession of criminal tools.

The janitor told police the boys also broke into his vehicle. He said his stereo, jumper cables, driver's license, and stereo faceplate were removed and placed outside the school door.

One of the teenagers is a Waite student but does not attend school. A second is believed to be a student at a charter school. The third is not a Toledo Public Schools student, spokesman Jane Bruss said.

An expulsion hearing will be held for the TPS student, said Emilio Ramirez, director of pupil placement.

In an unrelated matter, police are investigating alleged forgeries that resulted in losses of $10,000 to $27,000 from the school's band boosters, concession stands, and fund-raising events between Aug. 1, 2003, and March 1.

A police report filed Monday indicates that about 165 checks were written with forged signatures of the past band treasurer and the current band booster president.

Police were contacted when the profitable activities weren't making money. Police are trying to get an audit to determine where the money was and where it went, Lt. Mel Stachura said.

Ms. Bruss said parent organizations maintain their own finances, and the groups, not TPS, are out the money.



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