Chris Collins
The Baker City Herald

Two Baker High School freshmen have been charged with one count each of first-degree criminal mischief for allegedly causing thousands of dollars in damage to the BHS auditorium by spray painting obscene graffiti on the walls, floor and equipment on the stage.

A 14-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy were detained on the Class C felony charges Wednesday and transported to the juvenile detention center at The Dalles, said Staci Erickson, Baker County Juvenile Department director.

They were arraigned Thursday in juvenile court.

At Thursday’s hearing, the girl, who already is on probation, was held at the detention center. She will return to court for a detention review on June 19. The boy was released on house arrest with an ankle monitor. His next court date is July 1.

Erickson said the students apparently entered the auditorium between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. Tuesday and found gray, black and blue spray paint that they used to damage the stage and equipment.

Greg Mitchell, BHS principal, said he assumed the students found the paint in storage. It is used by the theater department.

He said they entered the auditorium either through an unlocked door or a door that was left ajar during the school day.

“It was not a forced break-in,” he said. “We had groups going in and out doing some performance work in there.”

The most expensive item damaged in the vandalism spree was a cyclorama, which has an estimated replacement cost ranging from $4,000 to $17,000, Erickson said.

Mitchell said a cyclorama is a curtain placed in the very back of a stage that is used for background light, such as sunsets and clouds, during theater productions.

A mechanically operated projection screen valued at $5,000 also was damaged.

The cost of repainting the stage floor and walls is estimated to cost abut $2,000, Erickson said.

A company in Portland is working with the school to determine the exact cost of replacing the vandalized items, Mitchell said.

“The damage is extensive,” he said.

See more in the June 7, 2019, issue of the Baker City Herald.

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