Reward in vandalism case up to $3,500 |

Reward in vandalism case up to $3,500

John Colson

The reward offered for information about vandals who struck at Aspen High School last week has increased to $3,500, school officials announced Monday.

Meanwhile, police say they have talked with several youths who were seen at the school on Oct. 6, and who reportedly were involved in attempts to steal AHS students’ backpacks.

But so far there have been no arrests or charges filed in either the vandalism or the attempted thefts.

The vandalism occurred sometime late on Oct. 5 or early Oct. 6, as the high school began its Homecoming weekend.

Authorities say someone broke into the school, shattering three large windows at the high school “commons” area and windows in some classrooms, as well as spraying several areas with chemicals from a fire extinguisher.

Authorities said one nearby homeowner was an “earwitness” to the crime. The man reported hearing glass breaking at about 12:20 a.m. that night, but said he thought it was a bear rummaging in a dumpster and paid no attention.

School superintendent Tom Farrell offered a $1,000 reward immediately after the vandalism was discovered, in hopes that witnesses would come forward.

But after news of the vandalism was reported in the local media, Farrell said a citizen called his office to say he would kick in an additional $2,500 toward the effort.

Farrell declined to name the benefactor, except to say it is a local concerned citizen who has been involved in supporting school activities and programs in the past.

Juvenile authorities have been talking with teen-agers about what some students and teachers said were several high-school aged kids “hanging around” the school on Friday, who were not Aspen students and not taking part in the Homecoming festivities.

According to police, one of the “suspicious” youths tried to steal an Aspen student’s backpack, but was caught in the act and chased away.

The teens reportedly climbed into a car and drove away, and the license number and description of the car was given to police.

Police are continuing to interview students as potential witnesses to the attempted thefts.

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