June 1, 2015
Contact: Heidi Embley
Phone: (907) 742-4158
Four teens who were on Taku Elementary School grounds at the time of the playground fire have been identified; charges are pending on two of the teens.
A parent notified police after she saw an image of “persons of interest” on the news. The parent and school staff ultimately helped identify all of the people involved in the arson.
The Anchorage School District thanks the parent for stepping forward and contacting authorities and also thanks the community for the support it has provided following news of the playground fire.
Replacement of the damaged equipment is estimated at $50,000. The district will seek restitution from those charged to help pay for the replacement equipment.
The district is asking members of the community to be proactive to keep schools safe from vandalism.
Last night, a playground structure at Taku Elementary School was burned, causing tens of thousands of dollars in damage.
“This is extremely concerning because of the risk of personal injury as well as destruction of school property,” said Superintendent Ed Graff. “Residents are encouraged to use their neighborhood school playgrounds over the summer and this careless action is having a negative impact on our neighbors as well as the district.”
The district will replace the play structure and seek full restitution for damages. Many times, vandals are minors, which makes the parents liable for the school repair costs.
The community is encouraged to keep an eye on school grounds and call police immediately if people see any suspicious activity.
Additionally, the district is participating in the camper host program this year where RV travelers are allowed to park at school facilities in exchange for providing a presence at ASD buildings during the summer months. There are 43 camper hosts at schools this summer. For more information about the camper host program, visit www.asdk12.org/events/camper_host.asp.
The Anchorage Police Department asks if you have information as to the identity of the persons responsible for this arson, call Crime Stoppers at 561-STOP or submit a tip at www.anchoragecrimestoppers.com If the information provided leads to an arrest, you will be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000. All calls to Crime Stoppers are anonymous.
NOTE: Photos courtesy of Anchorage School District.