Middle school broken into, food items stolen

Burglars shattered this window of the Francisco M. Sablan Middle School cafeteria. (Erwin Encinares)

Burglars shattered this window of the Francisco M. Sablan Middle School cafeteria. (Erwin Encinares)

A middle school in Afetna was broken into and lost food items from its pantry.

Francisco M. Sablan Middle School principal James Sablan suspects the burglar or burglars broke into the school between the hours of Sunday evening and early hours of Monday morning.

Sablan believes the burglars climbed the locked fence surrounding the school before shattering the window protected by a shutter, allowing burglars to open the window and access the storage room of the cafeteria.

“The cafeteria people came in and noticed that the storage room was open,” said Sablan. “After further investigation, [the cafeteria personnel] realized that somebody broke the glass window, granting access to the storage room.”

The burglars took only food items from the FMS cafeteria such as fruits, chocolate milk cartons, and water bottles, to name a few.

“Money and equipment-wise, none was lost,” said Sablan.

FMS has security cameras in certain parts of the school as a means to deter burglaries such as this, but none were installed in the cafeteria—the burglar’s point of entry.

FMS has experienced several burglaries throughout 2016, the worst one resulting in the loss of several laptops in July. The laptops were reportedly retrieved later.

The incident has already been reported to both the Board of Education and the authorities.

“We are really hoping to increase the security measures taken by the schools to protect the students’ equipment, instructional materials, and everything else in the campus,” said Education Commissioner Cynthia Deleon Guerrero. “We don’t necessarily have funding for security, but we have to be very creative in ensuring that we do what we can to protect the schools.”

Deleon Guerrero said it was too early to determine whether funding would be allocated for the security of schools.

“The [budget] review team would be looking into that,” she said.

Deleon Guerrero said the budget review has yet to start due to a new budgeting process involving stakeholders, management personnel, and the commissioner’s office.

“We are going to refine [the budget] as we move along, but I think that everybody is excited and are happy to be participating. Their reviews begin [today],” she added.

Erwin Encinares | Reporter
Erwin Charles Tan Encinares holds a bachelor’s degree from the Chiang Kai Shek College and has covered a wide spectrum of assignments for the Saipan Tribune. Encinares is the paper’s political reporter.

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