The Pacheco High pool will likely remain closed for the rest of the summer after someone broke into the fenced area and dumped motor oil in the pool.
According to Pacheco athletic director Charlie Pikas, a five-gallon bucket containing motor oil and oil filters was dumped into the pool on June 22.
Los Banos police this week released surveillance footage of a “person of interest” investigators would like to contact.
Cmdr. Jason Hedden said the video shows a male in a hooded sweatshirt throwing benches into the pool. A second clip shows a man without a hooded sweatshirt. Hedden said police believe both clips show the same person.
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Investigators believe the person in the footage could possibly be a former student who may have attended the school in recent years. He may be in his late teens or early 20s.
“We’d like to know who he is,” Hedden said Friday. “He a person of interest in the case that we’d really like to speak with.”
School officials said the cost of cleaning and repairs could approach about $50,000.
“It’s really frustrating,” Pikas said. “Los Banos High was getting ready to start their second week of a youth water polo camp and had to cancel it. Other youth swim teams are unable to use the pool. It hurts both high school water polo teams because they can’t work out this summer.”
The plan is to have the pool available when school starts in August if there are no delays in parts or chemicals, according to Mark Marshall, who is Superintendent of the Los Banos Unified School District.
Filters and pumps from the pool have been removed and cleaned. A number of other parts have to be replaced.
It’s not the first time the pool area at Pacheco has been vandalized. Trash cans and benches have been dumped in the pool in the past.
“We’ve found broken glass from people who hopped the fence and were partying,” Pikas said.
The district is working on ways to better secure the pool area.
“Several measures have been taken to prevent an incident of this magnitude from occurring again, including, adding a self-contained security system and overnight security,” said Marshall via e-mail. “Additionally, there have been discussions about increasing the height of the current pool fence.”
One of the youth swim programs the Los Banos Tiger Sharks have been forced to drive 45 minutes to Buhach Colony High in Atwater for daily swim practices.
“Obviously, it’s frustrating because it’s our only option for a pool in the community,” said Tigers Sharks coach Steven Baughman. “I grew up around a lot of pools (in Anaheim). Pools are always being vandalized, but it’s not newsworthy because there’s always a backup pool to use. Here in Los Banos, there is no community pool.
“The Atwater Stingrays heard our pool was down and offered us swim time at their pool. That’s how the swimming community is, we help each other out.”
Baughman, 30, says there are 110 swimmers in the Tiger Sharks program. He said about 40 are able to make the practices in Atwater.
“It affects some of the kids because they can’t practice,” Baughman said. “They can’t make the drive to Atwater.”
Baughman, who also coaches the girls water polo team at Los Banos High, says his team has been able to conduct their offseason conditioning in the pool.