Burglars smash windows, steal $10K in tools from Bethel School District

SPANAWAY, Wash. — Thieves broke into the Bethel School District Operations Support Center in Spanaway three times in one weekend and stole $10,000 worth of property.

According to court documents, the suspects used bolt cutters to get through the fence. They then smashed four van windows and stole tools from inside the locked vehicles Sept. 28 through Sept. 30.

“These are taxpayers dollars at work here and we’re frustrated and angry about this and I think the community should be frustrated and angry that there are people coming in and taking basically their tax dollars,” said Bethel School District Spokesperson Doug Boyles.

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Boyles said the facility was also broken into this summer. After that, they installed new security cameras.

This time, they captured the crime and turned it into police.

Oct. 9, officers arrested Zachary Johnston.

According to court documents, he admitted to the burglaries. The 23-year-old suspect told officers he had 24 felonies on his record and wanted to make a deal.

“I think we should do everything we can to protect the kids, and when you’re getting to a level where you’re breaking in to a school district to take tools that people need from our kids, it’s really bad, it’s gotten to a low level,” said Hilary Kennedy.

“They don't want the tools. They just want the money they get for selling the tools. So yeah, I'd tell them to go find a job,” said Mike Chappell, Bethel School District HVAC technician.

Officers said Johnston was arraigned and released from jail.

Police are searching for at least one other person connected to the crime.