The Student News Site of West Covina High School

WCHS Insight

The Student News Site of West Covina High School

WCHS Insight

The Student News Site of West Covina High School

WCHS Insight

A string of thefts leave staff and students uneasy

Rachel Leon
District fixed ASB clerk Rebecca Power’s office window on Feb. 9 after four days of it being boarded with wood. The exact details of the theft including the items taken are confidential as the West Covina police department continues to investigate. Principal Charles Park shared that perpetrators of the crime are subjected to both repercussions from the school and the criminal justice system. “Theft can range on a pendulum from suspension to expulsion… A situation like this once we solve and figure out who is responsible school consequences will apply. If not then police consequences will apply equally,” said Park.

ASB Director Christine Vo and her students returned to school Feb. 5 to find ASB Clerk Rebecca Power’s window smashed in. It has not been released what exact items were taken from the office; however, speculation has ranged from items such as files to a master key. The school has begun an ongoing investigation with police assistance and further details are not yet public. Jolting as it was for ASB and the school, this is not the first instance of theft on campus this school year. 

Estimated to have happened earlier this semester, AVID teacher Lyndie Lorenger kept a “swear jar” in her classroom. Started by her students, they put in spare change in an effort to fund their end-of-the-year banquet. The class had, at the time of the initial theft, accumulated $35 that Lorenger kept in the jar under her desk. Although she now acknowledges further precautions could have been taken, Lorenger’s relationship with her students was extremely tight knit and she felt secure enough to leave them unattended in the always full classroom. 

“I’m really close with these kids and I put my trust in them. I could go to the bathroom and was able to trust that I could come back without issues but now that’s gone,” said Lorenger. 

The class attempted to re-implement the swear jar with it being moved inside Lorenger’s desk, but has since abandoned these efforts as it was again ransacked. 

In another instance, some time over winter break, journalism equipment was stolen from English teacher and Insight Adviser Phoebe Chao’s classroom. This theft is considered a felony, grand theft under California Penal Code 487(a), as over $900 worth of merchandise was stolen. Days following the discovery of stolen equipment, Principal Charles Park and Assistant Principal Melanie Wong came to Insight newsroom to discuss the incident. According to Park, district has insurance to protect stolen items specifically, but in order to receive replacements, a request must be processed. Until then the class must make do with the current equipment remaining. This incident is also currently being investigated by administration and the West Covina police department. 

“I was in shock, cameras are very important to us journalism students to put out good content for our audience,” said Insight Editor-In-Chief Katie Castillo. 

According to Insight article “When there’s no office staff in sight” published Jan. 27 2023, there are cameras on campus that oversee areas of the school which was re-confirmed by Park. Along with this, the administration has deployed night-security for the campus in an attempt to remain proactive in defending campus property. 

“I’m following up with the district office… It takes time and since it’s a pending investigation I cannot speak directly about the process we have, but I am happy to say we’re making progress. The resources we have at our disposal I think they are underestimating,” said Park. 

None of the perpetrators in the listed crimes have been announced and as the investigations are ongoing.

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