Vandalism at South Bay schools leads to hate crime investigation

Local

CHULA VISTA, Calif. — Police in the South Bay are searching for vandals responsible for thousands of dollars worth of damage at two schools.

The Chula Vista Police Department said school resource officers first learned about the vandalism on Nov. 1, when they were dispatched to Bonita Vista Middle School and Bonita Vista High School. They found spray paint covering school property at both campuses.

Staff at the high school pointed officers to antisemitic and homophobic statements spray-painted on school doors and walls, CVPD said in a Tuesday news release. A classroom window was also broken, but police said the vandalism was quickly repaired before students saw.

Officers then headed to BVMS, where they found vandals had spray-painted more doors and walls. Investigators said repairs at the high school cost up to $1,600 while the middle school required $1,000 in repairs.

CVPD believes the vandalism happened between 6 and 10 p.m. Halloween night, and that the cases are connected because of the teal, yellow and black paint used at both schools. The incidents are being investigated as a hate crime because of the anti-Semitic and homophobic sentiment expressed, police said.

Officers are working to identify witnesses and suspects. Anyone with information about the vandalism was asked to call San Diego County Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477. Students with information can use the P3 App (Students Speaking Out).

Tipsters can remain anonymous and information leading to an arrest may result in a reward, police said.

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