An arrest was made recently following long-running acts of vandalism at Rose Elementary School (located at 250 Roswell Dr. in Milpitas). The suspect had been leaving animal feces on the school campus, spreading it on doors and windows and dumping it in the parking lot. The Milpitas Police Department (MPD) formally documented 17 different acts of vandalism from May to the beginning of this school year, with a pause over the summer recess.
In an interview with The Milpitas Beat, MPD Captain Matthew Miller said, “It all started back in May of this year. That’s when it was first reported to us, but the [Rose] staff actually said that there were other incidents dating back to March or April that went unreported. But we started getting reports of it in May, towards the end of the school year. And then it started back up again in August, once school started. And we have 17 reported incidents to us…”
A Reddit page titled “Poopgate” (warning: graphic images at the link) tracked the incidents of vandalism through photos and resident comments. Ultimately, the page amounted to community activism, spurring the Milpitas Unified School District and MPD to take action.
Police Chief Jared Hernandez said to The Beat, “We had utilized a bunch of different techniques to try to identify this person, which included physical surveillance of the site and then also electronic surveillance.”
Police installed cameras at the school and also conducted surveillance using an unmanned aircraft system. They soon identified a 48-year-old male suspect and secured a $30,000 warrant from the D.A. for his arrest. The suspect was then found in public and served the warrant.
“We haven’t had any instances reported since that,” Hernandez said. Describing the suspect, the Chief shared, “He is a nearby resident,” residing near the school.
As it turned out, the suspect had an interpersonal conflict with a Rose staff member (he shall remain unnamed here due to the conflict). He has been charged with felony vandalism since the damage amounted to over $400; he faces three years in prison, a $10,000 fine, or both the prison sentence and the fine.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, one parent of a Rose student told The Beat, “They caught him in the act. The MPD was definitely on this and worked in partnership with the school district to end the vandalism.”
A letter from Nanci Pass and the Rose School Staff to Rose Elementary families sounded a similar note: “Because of their efforts, this person will now be held accountable for the impact they had on our custodial staff, educators, students, and community.”
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