While carrying out her routine patrol duty in Swansea, Massachusetts at around 1:30am, Officer Sheila Valero noticed a curious site. Streams of toilet paper littered and coiled about the property, trees, and school buses of Joseph Case High School. According to further reports, plastic utensils on the ground spelled out “Somerset,” a neighboring town of Swansea. On the surface, perhaps this was a harmless prank borne from teenaged rebellion or boredom. But the bicycle chains that someone used to lock the doors triggered felony charges. Officer Valero was forced to call the fire department to come cut the chains in case of an emergency.
Not much time passed before the police found two of the suspects at a Target store. The pair eventually shared the information of their accomplices with the authorities. The police had no trouble finding the other suspects as their parents were willing to assist them with their search. One was found close to the same Target. And the final two were found a few hours later on Stevens Road, several miles away from the school they had allegedly vandalized. The quintet were identified as William Boulay, 20, Edward Cellemme, 19, Bruce Antone, 19, Evan Sorsa, 18, and a fifth member who was 17 years of age at the time of his arrest. Two of the five attend Joseph Case High which carried out classes without interruption despite the toilet paper violation.
All of the suspects have been charged with malicious destruction of property valued at over $250, defacement of real property, conspiracy, and trespassing. The results of their arraignment on Friday, September 7, 2012, at Fall River District Court have not yet been released through the media.
High school vandalism within the state isn’t unheard of experience. Just this past May, prior to graduation, Leominister found its football field violated with spray paint and the initials of its rival high school, Fitchburg High. Students from Fitchburg High came to commiserate with Leominister staff as they felt the incident embarrassed their institution. Six students from Fitchburg eventually turned themselves in. Several windows of Stoneham high schools were also smashed this pass July. So far no suspects had been found in that case.
For the five students in question, the charge of malicious destruction of property valued at over $250 is the felony that threatens them with a conviction of possible 2 ½ years. But Gregg Miliote, spokesman for Bristol County District Attorney Samuel Sutter, said that was unlikely, noting that the judge released the five on personal recognizance. School Committee Chairman Christopher Carreiro expressed confusion over motivation for the prank before turning questions over to the superintendent, Christine Stanton, who did not return messages.