Angela Brandt Havre Daily News email@example.com
Two boys are accused of extensively vandalizing Havre High School with paint and fire extinguishers on June 18. Christopher Kostelecky and Drake Zubatch, both 15, on Wednesday were issued summons to appear in state District Youth Court on felony charges of burglary and felony criminal mischief. The summonses were filed and a state public defender was appointed Wednesday. The boys will have their first day in court on Aug. 9. According to court documents Kostelecky reportedly told a fellow student “he wanted to get back at the school because he didn’t like going there” and told a girl he was going to “do something big so everyone would know his name.” Both boys had just finished the school year as freshmen. Havre Assistant Police Chief George Tate said police conducted a search warrant on the boys’ residences on June 28 looking for evidence including shoes matching footprints found at the high school. They found nothing. The boys had disposed of the clothing and footware they donned during the break in, court documents said. Tate today said police have interviewed witnesses who say the boys are responsible for the damage. He said physical evidence, including fire extinguishers used in the incident, have been sent to a crime lab for fingerprint analysis. Havre Public Schools operations director Ric Floren said the total cost of cleaning up the mess left by the vandals has added up to about $9,000 so far. That number does not include the labor and other costs associated with repairing the auditorium seats and repainting the walls in the room, repainting and refurbishing the lockers and the administrative and clerical time needed to deal with the vandalism. Floren estimated that fixing the about 500 lockers will take about two weeks of labor as workers will need to take all of the hardware off prior to painting and then reinstall the hardware after the coats have dried.
“The significant cost is yet to come. The auditorium seats were wrecked. You can’t find old ones that match the 40-year-old ones in there,” Floren said Thursday. He said to replace all the seating, which was coated with paint during the break in, will cost about $200,000 and the district is not sure how it will deal with the seating issue and is waiting for a response from its insurance company. “We’re just beginning,” Floren added. The boys planned the break in and had a door propped open and a window unlocked so they could enter the campus, according to court documents. Both are accused of using paint, which was taken from a few places in the school, on walls, floors, auditorium seats, lockers and the concession stand, the documents said. They then left, court documents said, and “ditched some of the evidence,” only to return, break back into the school and proceed “to spackle the wall with paint.” The high school has never had such damage in pranks and vandalisms in the past, Floren said. “Historically minor vandalism has always been a part of school life but I have never seen something this malicious with damage from one end of the building to the other,” he said. “I believe people are appreciative that law enforcement has found the individuals and the proper punishment with be given,” Floren added. Tate said the boys are “not bona fide bad kids” but they absolutely have to be charged. Kostelecky is up for two charges of felony witness tampering as well. On June 26 and 29, court documents said, Kostelecky contacted two girls who knew he was involved in the vandalism and asked them not to talk to the police. One of the girls told officers, according to court documents, that Kostelecky “gave her a guilt trip” and had threatened to beat up the other girl’s boyfriend if the girl cooperated with law enforcement. Tate said the department is conducting more interviews about the case and there is “still work to be done.”