4 teens cause $4,000 damage to Copper Canyon HS

Posted at 2:01 PM, Mar 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-31 16:40:13-04

Four teens are accused of causing thousands of dollars in damage to a high school in Glendale.

Court documents show that a black Nike logo, student tips and social media led police to the teens responsible for causing thousands of dollars in damage at Copper Canyon High School, near 91st Avenue and Camelback Road.

Glendale police say that on Feb. 22, a Monday, the four teens used a key to enter the school. They stole five digital cameras worth $2,000 and damaged four classrooms. The damage estimate is about $4,000. 

The students threw paint all over the walls, ceiling and floors of one classroom. In another room, they drew obscene pictures on the dry erase board with permanent markers.

They also destroyed students' ceramic art projects by playing "baseball" with them, authorities said.

Police got descriptions of the students by watching surveillance video. One item in particular caught their attention: a black Nike 'swoosh' logo on the white shoes of one of the suspects. 

The school resource officer went around the school looking for students wearing the white Nikes. The officer found two students but only one matched the description. The student, later identified as 18-year-old Thomas Hernandez Ortega, is more than 6 feet tall and weighs 275 pounds. The identities of the other three were withheld because they are juveniles.

Police also received anonymous tips from students telling then to check a social media site that showed pictures of the suspects who were on campus that night. The pictures matched the video of the suspects caught on the surveillance video.

On March 17, Ortega, the student with the white Nikes, was arrested and is cooperating with police. Police say he hold them he knew it was wrong but followed the others anyway.

He is facing charges of burglary and aggravated criminal damage.