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News Release

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Media Relations

Belmont High School Targeted with Hate-Related Vandalism and Fake Bomb

Los Angeles: On April 2, 2008, at around 6:30 a.m., school administrators arriving at Belmont High School found swastikas and other graffiti painted with blue, white and black spray paint in various campus locations. They also found a package displaying swastikas and the date of April 3, 2008.

Additional graffiti makings incorporated "MHS" and "Beware. It’s Time." Damage to school property also included 30 door-lock cylinders throughout the campus that had been glued shut.

The mysterious package, which was perceived to be a possible bomb, caused school officials to summon the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Bomb Squad. Consequently, the school was evacuated for several hours while the Bomb Squad and Los Angeles Fire Department conducted an investigation. After being unable to determine the content of the package, the Bomb Squad detonated it and discovered it contained a radio/CD player.

LAPD Rampart Area detectives determined that eight students at the school were responsible for the incident. Five of the students were juveniles and three were 18-year-old adults. The criminal investigation determined that they were apparently trying to stage a hoax in order to scare students and administrators, though it’s unclear why. Property damage was estimated to be $2,000.

Today at 10:45 a.m., the eight suspects were booked on a felony charge for planting a facsimile bomb on a school campus, along with hate crime and vandalism charges.