Police: Solar vandal culprits are nabbed

Shannon Litz/Nevada AppealBroken solar panels at Seeliger Elementary.

Shannon Litz/Nevada AppealBroken solar panels at Seeliger Elementary.

Three juveniles were arrested Sunday after allegedly breaking solar panels at Seeliger Elementary School.

The mother of a 12-year-old brought her son to the Sheriff's Office to tell deputies he had been involved in the vandalism.

The boy said he was alone on Aug. 7 when he threw a piece of cinder block and broke one of the recently installed $1,200 panels.

He said that on Aug. 10, he and a 14-year-old boy and another 12-year-old boy climbed over a fence and picked up the same chunk of cinder block. This time the 14-year-old boy threw it and broke the panel, and the other boy jumped on panels.

Deputies jailed the first juvenile, then went to the homes of the others to notify their parents.

The parents could be liable for monetary damages.

School officials offered a $250 reward for information on the suspects after finding two solar panels smashed late last week. The panels are part of a 60,000-square-foot array installed in June at the school. Although the system still is operating, it is less efficient with the destroyed panels.

Seeliger's is one of five solar arrays - 195,000 square feet - planned throughout the district. The entire project will cost $11 million, but with a $9.75 million rebate from NV Energy, the district will pay $1.25 million.

The school district estimates it will save $400,000 in energy costs annually once the arrays are completed.


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