By Bob Uphues
Two Riverside-Brookfield High School students face felony charges of criminal damage to state-supported property for their alleged roles in a senior prank that went too far at the school last week.
On Wednesday morning, Riverside police concluded their investigation into acts of vandalism at the high school during the early morning hours of Oct. 2. While most of the 100-plus students who converged on the school that morning were there to take part in the traditional homecoming prank of bombing the campus' trees and bushes with toilet paper and writing messages on the sidewalks with shaving cream, a few who showed up went quite a bit further.
Several items of furniture, including a couch and two mattresses were spray painted with slogans and left at the former main entrance to the school on Ridgewood Road. Several live chickens were found in a baby crib nearby, and pornographic pictures were nailed to trees and taped to school doors.
In addition, areas of the entrance were spray-painted with images of male genitalia and expandable foam was sprayed into some door locks, damaging them.
According to Riverside police, the two students surrendered to police on Tuesday and Wednesday, with the Cook County State's Attorney's Office approving felony charges late Wednesday morning.
The charges were automatically upgraded to felonies because the actions occurred on the grounds of a school.
An 18-year-old North Riverside resident was charged with criminal damage to property for spray-painting graffiti on the building while a 17-year-old North Riverside resident was charged with spraying the foam into the door locks.
While others may have been involved in criminal activities, said Police Chief Thomas Weitzel, the two arrested were the only ones who were able to be identified on surveillance camera footage. The two were also implicated by their own statements and by witness statements, Weitzel said.
Dozens of students were disciplined for their roles in the pranks, ranging from suspensions from school and athletic contests to serving in-school detentions and being prohibited from attending the homecoming dance.
Weitzel said he does not expect any further arrests related to the Oct. 2 incident.