Police investigating multiple school burglaries - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Police investigating multiple school burglaries

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A burglar breaks into St. Clair County High School early on Thanksgiving morning. A burglar breaks into St. Clair County High School early on Thanksgiving morning.
Investigators said this backpack might help identify a burglar at Leeds High School. Investigators said this backpack might help identify a burglar at Leeds High School.
Two burglars broke into Leeds High School late Friday, December 6. Two burglars broke into Leeds High School late Friday, December 6.
ST CLAIR COUNTY - AL -

St.  Clair County investigators said cash and computers went missing during at least 10 school break-ins in four counties.

Police believe one person is responsible for all of the burglaries.  Officers are trying to find him.

Security cameras at some of the schools caught the break-ins on tape, but Odenville police chief Adam Pardue said it is hard to identify the culprit as he dressed in black from head to toe.

"The surveillance video shows a person with a ski mask, gloves, and a hoodie, with the hoodie pulled up over his head," Pardue said.

"It looks like a juvenile, but the things they're doing are some of the things that an adult would do, the way they're breaking in and doing things."

The Odenville break-in happened early Thanksgiving morning at St. Clair County High School.  The burglar searched through drawers and closets, and got away with about $1,000.

Pardue said he met with other area law enforcement officials last week to discuss the break-ins.  Other burglarized schools in St. Clair County include Moody Elementary School, Iola Roberts Elementary School, and Duran South Junior High School.  The St. Clair County Sheriff's Office said investigators in Calhoun County and Talladega County are also working on school break-ins in their jurisdictions.

Over the weekend, a Jefferson County school became the next victim.  This time there were two people who broke into Leeds High School.

Leeds police officer Dwain Hagan serves as the school resource officer, and he spent much of Tuesday reviewing surveillance video of the burglars walking around the school.

"I guess they're kind of used to wandering around and doing this.  The more you do something, the more calm you get, the more brazen you get, they're calm and didn't seem to be rattled or in a hurry," Hagan said.

He said it did not appear as if the two burglars were familiar with the school, so he is hopeful that it is not a Leeds student.

"To think that it may be a student from one of these schools, stealing from their own school, it's kind of disheartening to say the least," Hagan said.

He said the school administration and other staff members are upset, and feel violated.  He is ready for the burglar--and his new associate--to be caught.

"It's a sad situation.  You're stealing from kids," Chief Pardue said.

"It's bad enough anyway to steal but you're stealing from kids.  Somebody needs to man up and come forward and tell us who's doing it."

Hagan agreed that the burglar is boasting about the break-ins.

"Somebody out there knows.  They're talking.  They're talking to somebody and somebody knows.  I hope somebody will do the right thing and let us know," Hagan said.

If you have information, call the St. Clair County Sheriff's Office at 205-594-3333 or Leeds Police at 205-699-2581.  You can also contact Crimestoppers at 205-254-7777 and leave an anonymous tip.  There is a cash reward if your tip leads to an arrest.

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