Authorities move swiftly, identify and arrest two PCHS students
Platte County High School in Platte City was broken into and vandalized during the early morning hours on Monday. The suspected vandals also stole numerous items from the building.
Within 24 hours of the break-in, which was captured on video by Platte County R-3 School District surveillance cameras in the building, authorities had identified two possible suspects. By the end of the day on Tuesday, the Platte City Police Department said that it had two 16-year-old males — both students at Platte County High School — in custody. Because they are juveniles, their names were not released. As of The Citizen’s Tuesday evening deadline, no charges had been filed, but Platte City Police Chief Carl Mitchell said the juvenile suspects were being detained pending the imminent filing of criminal charges in the Platte County Juvenile Court. When he announced the arrest of the two juveniles, Mitchell said the PCPD and the Platte County Sheriff’s Department, which assisted in the investigation, had received numerous tips which helped them identify the suspects and locate them. R-3 Superintendent Dr. Mike Reik said PCHS students were also helpful in resolving the situation. “Our students take great pride and ownership in their high school and this was instrumental in our investigation,” he said. “The unwavering integrity shown by our students is the real story worthy of city-wide media coverage” According to the Platte City Police Department, at 8:25 a.m. Monday the officers were dispatched to Platte County High School in reference to a break-in. The responding officer learned entry was gained to the building by unknown offenders by breaking a window at the rear of the school. The offenders caused damage to the interior of the school and stole several computers and other items. Damage done included smashing monitors on numerous computers in a computer lab room and breaking out windows in the school’s administration office to gain entry. Mitchell said electronic devices including iPads and laptop computers were stolen as was an undisclosed amount of cash from the administration office. After viewing videotape of the intruders downloaded from the surveillance cameras, the PCPD described the two suspects as “white males between 5’8 and 6’0, slim to average build, who wore blue jeans and dark colored hoodies with an Adidas logo on the front. The hoodies covered their heads and each had a light colored cloth covering their lower faces.” Mitchell said once the suspects were located, two search warrants had been served and numerous stolen items had been recovered from the suspects’ homes and a wooded field in Platte City. A press release issued by Reik Tuesday evening stated, in part: “….numerous stolen items have been recovered which include two way radios, electronic devices and cash. The extent of the damage and loss is still being assessed but is estimated to be approximately $50,000. There is no evidence that would suggest any sensitive or secure data has been compromised. District staff, in cooperation with the authorities, will continue to act expeditiously in the interest of safety and security. Once again, we would like to thank dedicated staff members for their continued effort to restore and protect our learning environment. Administrators, custodians, technology personnel and teachers have made personal sacrifices to ensure the welfare of our students. “Additionally, we would like to thank the Platte City Police Department and the Platte County Sheriff’s Department for their support and professionalism.” The R-3 School District was closed Monday due to the Presidents Day holiday, but reopened as scheduled Tuesday. The Platte County girls basketball game scheduled to be held at the high school Monday evening was moved to Platte City Middle School.