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Vandalism damage at Monroe Middle School repaired in time for classes

GANDY/SUN BAY SOUTH — Monroe Middle School resumed classes on schedule Monday after three teenagers reportedly caused more than $60,000 in damage during spring break.

Two former Monroe students were arrested and another is being sought in connection with the vandalism, which occurred April 7.

Jonathan Dow, 19, faces charges of burglary, criminal mischief and preventing extinguishment of fire, while a 15-year-old boy is facing juvenile charges. They were arrested at the school.

Tampa police say the trio broke into the media center through a glass door, shattered windows, opened seven fire extinguishers and stole food.

The third suspect got away from officers by running into the mangroves behind the school.

Principal Juanita Underwood first saw the damage April 8 after some nominal cleaning.

"I've been principal at two schools now and I've never seen anything like it," she said.

Broken glass littered the floors and white dust from fire extinguishers coated floors and walls.

But when Underwood returned Saturday, it looked entirely different. "I came in Saturday and said. 'Oh my God, it looks great,' " she said.

A crew had replaced the broken glass, cleaned classrooms and even wiped down individual books at the school at 4716 W Montgomery Ave.

Originally pegged at $100,000, officials lowered the damage estimate after discovering computers in the media center were unaffected.

Underwood briefed the faculty on the situation, but said she felt it wasn't necessary to tell students about the vandalism.

Joshua Neiderer can be reached at jneiderer@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3374.

Vandalism damage at Monroe Middle School repaired in time for classes 04/16/09 [Last modified: Thursday, April 16, 2009 4:30am]

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