Anchorage School District investigating series of school break-ins

The Anchorage School District says at least six schools have experienced break-ins since the beginning of the school year
Published: Dec. 1, 2022 at 5:35 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Anchorage School District said at least five schools have been broken into since the start of the school year, including one elementary school that has been hit three times.

District Spokesperson Lisa Miller said the thefts involve cash gift cards, and computer equipment. They’ve been reported at Ptarmigan Elementary, Wonder Park Elementary, Williwaw Elementary, Bettye Davis East High School and, most recently, Wendler Middle School. All the thefts occurred overnight when no one was in the school building.

Williwaw Principal Likka McCauley said it’s hard to believe that thieves would strike her school more than once. The three thefts occurred over a six-week period this fall when someone broke into the school building and stole cash donated by the PTA that was kept in a locked drawer.

“And then I also had a science classroom that was broken into twice and a large number of technology items went away,” she said.

That included a large television monitor and 20 iPads that students use on a regular basis for science lessons.

“The kids had a real strong reaction, they were really upset that somebody came into their school community,” she said. “It felt like somebody was intruding into our space.”

McCauley said the situation is more unfortunate given the struggles ASD has had with its budget and the fact that schools are still recovering from the effects of the pandemic.

But, she said the experience has had a bright spot — in some ways it seems to have strengthened their school spirit.

“It kind of shifted into, ‘this is our school community, this is our school family, let’s take care of ourselves and each other, and let’s make sure from within that things feel good,’” McCauley said.

Miller said all of the investigations are ongoing and so far there have been no arrests.