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Prank Leaves Students Seeing Orange and Blue

June 16, 2002|WENDY THERMOS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A suspected senior prank at Chatsworth High School that left the campus looking like a kindergarten finger-painting party is no laughing matter to police, who are pursuing the case as a felony and will seek restitution from parents for the $10,000 cleanup costs.

Students arriving for classes Friday found exterior classroom walls, doors, sidewalks and planters plastered with handprints and footprints in orange and blue, the school colors. "CHS 2002" was painted in 2-foot-high letters in at least two areas.

Officers believe the vandalism was a senior prank, Sgt. Robert Carlsborg of the Los Angeles Unified School District police said. The senior class is scheduled to graduate Friday.No arrests have been made.

Empty paint cans left at the sites are being analyzed for fingerprints, and police technicians photographed the handprints for similar analysis.

"The district will press charges, and then they'll go after the parents for restitution. That's standard operating procedure," Carlsborg said.

Principal Dan Wyatt spoke to the student body about the incident on Friday and asked the perpetrators to turn themselves in, according to parents. Wyatt could not be reached Saturday for comment. Cleanup is expected to take a week.

Police believe the vandalism occurred between 3 and 5:30 a.m. Friday.

Cleanup crews began removing the graffiti Friday. But on Saturday afternoon, handprints, sneaker prints and paint streaks still blanketed the quad, an open-air area about the size of a football field at the center of the school. In the quad, a brick marquee proclaims the campus is the home of "Chancellor Pride and Spirit."

"I think senior pranks are all part of graduation, but I'm afraid this one went a little too far," said Kim Krivis, whose daughter is in the junior class.

"If they'd just done a few handprints and footprints to say, 'We were here,' it might have been cute," she said. "I hope they learn a lesson from this."

Carlsborg is urging anyone with information on the vandalism to call school police at (213) 625-6631.

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