INDIANAPOLIS – Indianapolis Metro Police are working to track down as many as twenty juveniles suspected of ransacking an east side charter school Monday evening.
Officials at Avondale Meadows Academy, near 38th and Keystone, arrived Tuesday morning to find every classroom in the building had been rummaged through by burglars.
Security video inside the school showed a group of five juveniles running down hallways around 6:30pm. The group eventually grew to about twenty children between the ages of 8 and 14.
“They ransacked every classroom,” said IMPD Officer Chris Wilburn. “Went through drawers, took loose change, phone chargers and a couple of iPads.”
IMPD evidence technicians spent Tuesday morning taking photographs in each classroom as school officials worked to determine how many items had been stolen.
Although it’s not clear how the children got into the school, Wilburn said a door may have been unintentionally left unlocked.
Classes at Avondale Meadows Academy are out for summer, but teachers and staff members are working during the days to move materials to different classrooms. The Avondale YMCA is also holding youth activities in the school. But those activities should have been wrapped up for the day by 6:30pm, Wilburn said.
It is also possible somebody intentionally left a door unlocked to gain access to the building after hours.
Investigators were still considering that possibility, as well as working to clear up images from security cameras. They were also attempting to lift fingerprints inside the building.
News of the burglary and vandalism was disheartening to neighbors and parents who live close to the school. The K-through-5 charter school is generally seen as a beacon of hope and opportunity for young people in the middle of a tough neighborhood which has struggled with crime for decades.
“Out of all these bad schools in the bad neighborhoods, this is one of the schools that sticks their necks out and tries to keep it together,” said Melissa Kidwell, whose daughter attends the school. “They the kids in line, keep them on the right path. It just shocks me that some of these kids would come and do it.”
“This is a good school,” said Robin Keyes, whose cousin attends the school. “But I don’t like the fact that it’s in a bad environment.”