Three boys were taken into custody in connection with vandalism at schools in the Amphitheater district, police said.

The boys are ages 12, 13 and 15. The two younger ones are former students at Amphitheater Middle School, and the 15-year-old attends Amphitheater High School, said Officer Chris Hawkins, a Tucson Police Department spokesman, on Thursday, Nov. 2.

The youths were booked into Pima County Juvenile Detention Center each on suspicion of felony burglary in the third-degree, felony aggravated criminal damage and felony arson of an occupied structure, Hawkins said.

Todd Jaeger, superintendent of Amphitheater Public Schools, said in a statement: "We are grateful that the Tucson Police Department acted so quickly to investigate and make these arrests related to the vandalism of our schools. We are saddened to learn that several of the individuals allegedly involved were current or former students of ours."

"It hurts all of us when these things happen. Everyone who cares about our students, our schools, and our community feels a sense of pain when someone deliberately tries to tear down what we strive every day to build," Jaeger said.

"We appreciate the outpouring of support from the community received over the past few days and we have partnered with the charitable Amphi Foundation to establish a dedicated donation page on," the superintendent said.        

Detectives believe the crimes occurred in the late evening and early morning hours of Oct. 28-29.

Vandals broke windows, set a fire in a library, destroyed computers and other equipment at four schools in the district over the weekend, authorities said.

The schools that sustained most damage were Amphitheater Middle School, 315 E. Prince Road, and Prince Elementary School, 125 E. Prince Road, said Amy Sharpe, a district spokeswoman, in an earlier interview.

On Oct. 29 shortly before 7 a.m., a custodian at the middle school noticed several windows broken and called 911, said Hawkins. As officers checked the school grounds, they could smell smoke coming from the library.

Officers could not locate the origin of the fire because the smoke was so thick inside the library, Hawkins said. He said Tucson Fire Department firefighters put out the blaze. The library, which is also shared by Prince Elementary School, suffered significant smoke and fire damage, including a large number of books were destroyed.

Staff and students will not have access to the library for at least eight weeks while crews work to restore and replace damaged equipment and materials.

The schools will have other accommodations in place for activities that were held in the library. All classes are being held as scheduled, said Sharpe.

Throughout the school grounds there were multiple computers, windows and a school vehicle damaged. Several electronic items were stolen, and one item was later recovered, Hawkins said.

On the morning of Oct. 30, officers responded to reports of vandalism at Amphitheater High School, 125 W. Yavapai Road, the Rillito Center, 266 E. Pastime Road, and Prince Elementary. It does not appear that entry was made into buildings at the schools.

At the high school, a ticket booth and security booth were damaged, and at Prince there were reports of broken windows. At Rillito Center, two exterior drinking fountains and six window panes on a door were broken, Hawkins said. 

Tucson police are continuing the investigation and ask that anyone with information call 88-CRIME, an anonymous tipster hotline.

Contact reporter Carmen Duarte at or 573-4104. On Twitter: @cduartestar