URBANA — Urbana police arrested two teens for burglary who, police say, brought their own tote bags to carry loot from an Urbana school last week.
Some time after 9:30 p.m. July 26, the teens entered Thomas Paine School, 1801 James Cherry Drive, through an unlocked window, according to Investigator Shaun Cook.
Once inside, they broke windows to classroom doors and stole several items, including a laptop computer, cameras, electronics, hand-held radios and backpacks.
"We believe we recovered everything minus less than $10 in change and a Wii game system," said Cook.
Acting on a tip, officers went to an apartment in the 2400 block of Prairie Green about 2 p.m. Tuesday and found the 15- and 16-year-old boys, both runaways, inside the apartment of an elderly woman who Cook said has been known to let juveniles stay with her.
"Officers saw one of the known offenders looking out the back window. We got consent to enter and arrested one. The second one was found hiding behind the couch," he said.
Cook said the woman living there turned over a Dell laptop computer that had been taken from the principal's office.
Both boys were taken to the Juvenile Detention Center and gave police information that led them to the rest of the stolen items. One boy who is on parole was held and was to make a court appearance Wednesday; the other was released to his family and is expected to have a later court date.
"We recovered the known property of the school district: a laptop; four cameras — three digital and one video; numerous electronic items such as an iPod touch, cell phone chargers, a cell phone; CDs; DVDs; backpacks; bags; flashlights; and radios," Cook said.
Cook said the teens used bags they brought with them to carry out the stolen items as well as bags they found inside the building. Surveillance video led to their arrest.
"They broke in through a window, saw the cameras and found masks inside the school to hide their identity," Cook said.
He said the boys then disabled security cameras but missed one. From that, police obtained pictures of the pair with their masks off. The pictures were forwarded to school district staff, who identified one of the youths. Police figured out the second by talking to the identified boy's mother and brother, Cook said.
Cook said police recovered about $1,500 worth of items that the school district knew were stolen. He said there were several other items that likely belong to teachers that haven't been reported as stolen because the teachers aren't at the school.
"There are things like a wooden hourglass that surely came from a teacher's desk," said Cook, asking teachers to check their rooms and contact him if they find something missing.
Cook said the teens had obviously thought in advance about the burglary.
"If they'd just put that knowledge to use somewhere else, they might be productive members of society," he said.