September 17, 2012

Burglars start fire at Atwater High

Atwater police are seeking burglars who started a fire inside a classroom at Atwater High School this weekend.

Custodians notified law enforcement after arriving at the 2201 Fruitland Avenue school about 6 a.m. Monday and discovering that room 509 had moderate fire damage, according to Lt. Sam Joseph.

Police aren't sure when the burglars broke into the school, although it must have happened between Saturday and early Monday.

The burglars forcibly entered the room and sprayed the front of the classroom with an unknown substance. The burglars lit that part of the room on fire, but the fire didn't burn past the outer layers of the wall, and extinguished itself, Joseph said.

Police said the thieves broke into a maintenance shed and expelled the contents of seven fire extinguishers. They also stole three hand-held radios.

Damage to the building was estimated between $5,000 and $10,000.

Police are asking anyone with information to call (209) 357-6387 or the department's automated tipline at (209) 357-6390. Tips are kept confidential and callers can remain anonymous.

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