18 year old reportedly bragged about his crime
Yesterday, Sheriff’s deputies were finally able to apprehend a Saugus resident, who they believe to be responsible for an act of vandalism over the summer at Saugus High.
Sometime between July 13th and July 15th, a vandal, or vandals, entered the Saugus High School campus and destroyed twelve brand new trees the school had planted as part of their modernization.
The damage is believed to have been done with a hatchet or some sort of axe. In addition, sprinkler lines and a soda vending machine were also badly damaged.
For over a month detectives followed up the investigation, and recently, they got a new lead when eighteen year old Michael Gauntt-Smith was reportedly heard bragging about the incident.
With a new focal point in the investigation, deputies from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff Station's Career Offenders Burglary Robbery Apprehension Team (COBRA) arrested Smith at his home yesterday morning. They also served a warrant to search his vehicle; however as of yesterday evening the suspected tool of the vandalism had not been recovered.
Shortly after the incident, KHTS featured a story that touched upon the student reaction to the vandalism. “I was shocked,” Breanna, a Saugus senior who is in ASB told KHTS. Her friend Lindsay expanded on that feeling of surprise; “The school’s been under construction for the whole time we’ve been here, and that makes it even worse,” she said.
And the outrage wasn’t just limited to the students. Two local companies heard the story and decided to step up and help get the school back on track. On July 25th, Valley Crest Tree Company donated eighteen trees; fourteen Liquid Amber and four Crate Myrtle trees to Saugus, while Stay Green Inc. donated the manpower to plant the trees.
As for Michael Gauntt-Smith, he has been charged with a felony count of vandalism and was being held on $20,000 bail.
Saugus High has just completed a three year long modernization of its campus.