Three arrested after felony vandalism at Atwater High

07/23/2013 3:50 PM

07/23/2013 9:30 PM

Atwater police arrested three men suspected of vandalizing Atwater High School property, police said.

About 8:19 a.m. Monday, police received a report of school property floating in a canal that borders the north end of Atwater High.

Police found a large metal-framed trailer on its side, partially submerged in the canal. Police said the trailer belonged to Atwater High, and was moved from near the agricultural shop.

Police also found four computers and a monitor destroyed and strewn about campus. The computers and monitor appeared to have been thrown on the ground several times, causing permanent damage to the case and components of each computer, police said.

The computers were taken from a storage area.

Police said many of the tables in a school greenhouse were overturned, scattering about 50 plants.

Police estimate $3,000 in damage. Vandalism moves from a misdemeanor to a felony after it exceeds $900 in damage, police said.

After reviewing surveillance video of the area, police arrested Ryan Trindade, 19. After questioning Trindade, police arrested Joseph Moles, 21, and Jacob Gottschall, 18.

Moles is being held at the Merced County Jail in lieu of $9,000 on suspicion of felony vandalism and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Trindade and Gottschall are being held at the Merced County Jail in lieu of $5,000 each on suspicion of felony vandalism.

Reporter Thaddeus Miller can be reached at (209) 385-2453 or

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