Thieves target local schools

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Six arrested in three break-ins

By Ryan Conley

Six people, including three juveniles, have been arrested on charges related to break-ins at Spencer County High School and Taylorsville Elementary School.


Matthew Shake, 19, of Taylorsville, and three juveniles were charged with two counts of burglary and theft by unlawful taking of less than $500 for break-ins at both the high school and elementary school on Jan. 2-3.

Brandon Sparks, 19, and John Sparks Jr., 22, of Taylorsville, were also charged with burglary and theft by unlawful taking of less than $500 in a separate break-in incident at the high school on Jan. 2-3. A warrant has been issued for a third person, but no arrest has been made.

According to Taylorsville Police Chief Toby Lewis, Shake and the three juveniles first entered Taylorsville Elementary on Jan. 1 and played basketball, and then returned during the evening of Jan. 2, where the quartet stole some items and created some damage valued at a combined total of $1,567.
At about the same time on Jan. 2, the Sparks brothers broke into the high school and stole some items and caused damage, Lewis said. Stolen items include a small amount of cash and two laptop computers.

After the Sparks brothers left, Shake and the three juveniles entered the high school and also stole a few items, including property from lockers. Some items have been recovered.

“There was some stuff stolen, but not high-dollar stuff,” Lewis told members of the Taylorsville City Commission on Jan. 5.

Videotape at the high school captured the activities of all six and they were later arrested. Lewis said all six confessed to the crime. The three adults were taken to the Shelby County Detention Center while the juveniles were released to their parents.

“The videotape speaks very clearly,” Lewis said of the suspects.

In addition to some stolen items, various property was damaged. Included was a computer, valued at $1,500, which was damaged when a soda was allegedly poured on it. Also, damage was created when grape juice exploded after being heated in a microwave.

“We were fortunate there wasn’t more than there was,” Lewis said.

Lewis said access to the schools was gained through windows and doors.

“We have been working with the school since then and giving them back information in how they gained entry into different areas, so that the school can take care of those problems,” Lewis told the commission.

Lewis was asked if the suspects targeted certain rooms.
“According to the people, it was what ever rooms they could get into,” he said. “Nobody was targeted, per se.”

It was the first major break-in at one of the public schools since October 2005, Lewis said.

Police are still investigating the Dec. 29 theft of more than $10,000 worth of copper wire at the construction site of Taylorsville Place Apartments. A suspect in a theft of $40,000 worth of copper wire on Jan. 4 in Nelson County was recently arrested, The Kentucky Standard newspaper reported. It is unclear if the two thefts are related.