Crime & Courts

Child vandals left painted handprints when destroying Kansas school band room

Law enforcement is investigating after vandals in a Kansas high school band room damaged or destroyed music instruments.

Deputies were called at 9 a.m. Saturday to Pretty Prairie High School after Principal Kevin Hedrick found that the band room had been vandalized, Reno County Sheriff’s Capt. Steve Lutz said Monday in a news release. The principal had been giving a tour of the school to upcoming freshmen when he discovered the vandalism.

“The entire band room received severe damage,” Lutz said. “Several different colors of paint was thrown across the floor, walls and over equipment. The majority of the drums, if not all, had holes punched in them. Some of the drums heads had painted hand prints left on them. Several different musical instruments were completely destroyed.

“Fire extinguishers were discharged on the building and inside of a recently purchased van that belonged to the school. Both in the band room and in the van, items within had been thrown around. Although it is going to take a bit to see what if anything has been stolen, we believe items have been taken.”

Vandals in the band room of Pretty Prairie High School punched holes in drum heads and left painted hand prints on them. Courtesy Photo Reno County Sheriff's Office

Four juveniles have since been identified by law enforcement and interviewed in connection to the case. Lutz said Tuesday that the four children are the only ones believed to be involved in the case. The sheriff’s office has sent case paperwork to the Reno County district attorney’s office.

The school district said in a Facebook post that educators have received support from the community.

“As awful as this is for our students, we are working to provide them with instruments as soon as we can,” school officials said in the post. “A silver lining, and hopefully a life lesson for our students, is they/we are not in this alone. The outpouring of support has been tremendous. I have received many emails and calls of support and willingness to help.”

Officials estimate the vandals caused between $50,000 and $75,000 in damage. The vandalism likely occurred early Saturday morning between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m.

The sheriff’s office asks anyone with information on the criminal damage to property case to call detectives at 620-694-2735 or Crime Stoppers of Reno County at 1-800-222-TIPS.

Law enforcement and school officials estimate that vandals caused between $50,000 and $75,000 of damage in the band room of Pretty Prairie High School. Courtesy Photo Reno County Sheriff's Office

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