Juveniles charged in Orangeburg school vandalism

ORANGEBURG, SC (WACH) - Orangeburg County deputies say they detained two juveniles Monday in connection with an overnight case of vandalism and burglarly at Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School.

According to Sheriff Leroy Ravenell, the school was vandalized over a five-hour period from late Sunday night into early Monday morning.

Orangeburg Consolidated School District Five shut down classes for the day after authorities found busted up classrooms, smashed windows, and missing items after an early morning wake-up call.

Deputies say the two burglars, who are not being identified due to their age, tripped a fire alarm at the school at 3:30 Monday morning. Students were hustled into the gym early Monday when they arrived for class, but, were dismissed a short time later as nearly two dozen investigators combed the school for clues.

"We wanted to make sure that our children and our faculty and staff were safe," said school district spokesman Greg Carson. "We just knew it was vandalism. We didn't look at it as a prank or anything like that. Our main thing was to find out what happened and go ahead and deal with what happened, to get to the bottom of this and turn it over to law enforcement. "

Deputies say the young people involved caused thousands of dollars in damages, ripping out surveillance equipment, stealing electronics, and ransacking at least 20 classrooms. Strangely enough, investigators say surveillance video helped them track down the pair just hours after the break-in.

According to Sheriff Ravenell, deputies executed a search warrant at the home of one of the juveniles and located several items that were reported missing Monday morning from the school.

The young people face several charges including second degree burglary and grand larceny.

"It took the vandals longer to destroy the school than it took us to identify and take them into custody," said Ravenell.

Classes will resume Tuesday at Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School.

Ravenell says the investigation continues as deputies work to identify more items stolen during the break-in.