Police investigate vandalism at Rio Rancho schools

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RIO RANCHO, N.M. — Newly released surveillance video shows two people tagging Cleveland High School earlier this week. This was the third incident to happen at Rio Rancho Public Schools during the two-week holiday break.

The first was a break-in at Rio Rancho High School the day after Christmas. In Sal Maniaci’s four years working with the district, the executive director of RRPS Safety and Security said he has never seen somebody do this.

“The incident at Rio Rancho High School was kind of unique,” he said. “We had a situation where a student entered one of the coach’s offices through the vent. They actually got on the roof, were able to access that panel, crawl through the air vent and then drop into a coach’s office at the high school and the gym area.”

Maniaci said, “oddly enough,” nothing was reported stolen at RRHS. He also said the district may be able to identify the individual — believed to be a student — based off surveillance video of that break-in as well.

“We’re going to distribute that video to our staff and see if we can identify who that was, who made that unlawful entry,” Maniaci said.

The video released to KOB 4 from the most recent vandalism at CHS, shows two hooded figures spray-painting the fence near the football stadium. That happened just one week after someone threw rocks through the school’s atrium windows.

“The glass panels that were broken out at Cleveland High School, we thought we would have those fixed within the week, and unfortunately, the vendor had a hard time getting the glass panels,” Maniaci said. “So that damage persists. It’s a bit longer than what we had anticipated, but we make every effort to make sure that the students come back to school, there’s no evidence of any criminal damage property, especially graffiti.”

Rio Rancho police told KOB 4 all three investigations are still active and no arrests have been made.

“I was surprised to see that many within such a short amount of time and disappointed as well,” Maniaci said. “So we do so much to create the best environment for our students and we see this type of behavior, it’s very disappointing.”

A spokesperson with the Rio Rancho Police Department sent KOB 4 the following statement:

“At this time, the Criminal Investigations Division is actively working the case. Anyone with information regarding the incident is encouraged to contact the Rio Rancho Police Department.

These type of large-scale vandalism/criminal damage cases are uncommon in Rio Rancho. Recently, we have seen a noticeable increase, including the two mass tire slashing incidents, and the damage done to the high school.

The Rio Rancho Police Department is working diligently to conduct periodic patrols of our schools, businesses, and residential communities to prevent such acts from occurring. If anyone observes any suspicious, or criminal activity, they are asked to contact police immediately.”

If you know anything that could help with these investigations, call RRPD at (505) 891-7226 or the RRPS district office at (505) 896-0667.