Homeless woman held in break-in, vandalism of San Jose Montessori school

SAN JOSE (KTVU) -- Police on Monday said a homeless woman has been arrested in connection with the vandalism of the Tomorrow Montessori School that prompted the pre-school to shut its doors while it works to recover from the damage that was done.

Investigators said Leticia Tavares Monila, 34, a transient, was responsible for the $10,000 worth of damage done during the May 3 incident at the school, which is located in the 2400 block of Almaden Road in San Jose.

Monila was taken into custody on May 12 without incident and booked into the Santa Clara County Jail for burglary, felony vandalism and possession of drugs. It was not immediately clear on Monday if she had posted bond yet.

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When school officials arrived the morning after the school break-in, they said they found broken glass, destroyed furniture and equipment and ransacked rooms.

School administrators said they would have to replace diapers, baby formula, food and carpeting because of broken glass. School officials were forced to close the facility while repairs were made, prompting 115 families to find alternative childcare during the closure.

School officials said the attack occurred between midnight and 6 a.m. and that playground equipment was likely used to break a window to access the building.

Police said they were able to identify a suspect and Monila was arrested in the area of 1st Street and east Alma Avenue in San Jose shortly after 1 a.m. on May 12.

"This case highlights the continued professionalism and tenacity exhibited by our officers," said Assistant Chief Dave Knopf. "Their dedication and compassion ensured justice was provided for the kids and community members affected by these crimes."

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