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Main suspects in school burglary are 8 and 9 years old

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Early Monday morning school personnel at J.D. Floyd Elementary school located at 3139 Dumont Avenue in Spring Hill, found that several classrooms were burglarized over the weekend.

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The Sheriff’s Office says patrol deputies received the initial call prior to the School Resource Officer arriving on campus at his normal, designated time.

The HCSO investigation revealed that during the afternoon hours on Saturday Sept. 21, 2019, two students at the school, one who is 9 years old in 4th grade and another who is 8 years old in 3rd grade, made entry onto the J.D. Floyd campus through the front gate.  The suspects then entered into four classrooms that were either unlocked or not completely secured.  Once inside the classrooms, the suspects committed numerous acts of vandalism including flipping tables, writing vulgarities on whiteboards, damaging school computers and technology, and damaging teacher’s personal equipment and property.

One area of the school that was accessed by the suspects is utilized by the PACE Center for Girls.  PACE is a separate function on the property of J.D. Floyd.  In this case, the suspects accessed a portable classroom.  Once inside, the suspects discharged a fire extinguisher.

Video surveillance and unique writing on the whiteboard aided in developing suspect leads. 

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The School Resource Officer, Deputy Ben Witherell, began conducting interviews.  Post Miranda Warning, with at least one parent and a school administrator present, each suspect confessed to the crimes.

Currently,  the students have been issued school discipline, pending a review by the Hernando County School Board (HCSB), for possible expulsion.  Additionally, the school board will make a determination in regards to seeking criminal prosecution, due to the ages of the suspects.

If criminal prosecution is sought, the case will be forwarded to the State Attorney for review.

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