High school band robbed of dozens of instruments in Fairfield

An unusual theft at a North Bay high school: dozens of musical instruments lifted right out of the band room, apparently sometime this past weekend.

Now student musicians at Armijo High School in Fairfield, fear their upcoming shows have  been silenced.   

"It's just heartbreaking, devastating, we don't have a spring season right now," Trinity Davidson told KTVU, outside the high school with several of her bandmates.

125 teenagers participate in the marching band, and some perform in jazz and concert bands too.

In the fall, the Armijo High School Super Band marches in parades and football games. 

During spring season, it performs in concerts and competitions. But arriving at the band room for Monday practice: a sour note. 

"Everything started normal, and then we just looked up to the cages, and my instrument wasn't there, " described saxophonist Zachary Johnson. 

It became a chorus of students discovering their instruments also missing.  

"We came to class totally ready to play, and were immediately let down because we realized what was happening," added Johnson. 

Sometime between Friday and Monday, despite the presence of security cameras on the building, the instruments were removed from the room. 

"Forty, maybe more," parent Bianca Sanchez told KTVU, "they are still investigating, there could be more."

Sanchez says most of the instruments belonged to the school, but her son lost his own saxophone.

 "I buy him his own, and to find out that something I worked hard for, is missing, in the blink of an eye, is very upsetting," lamented Sanchez.

"At Fairfield schools, we pretty much struggle," added parent T. Johnson, " and everything is done through fundraisers, so now we're back to zero."

Parent boosters swiftly set up a donation fund, but the district had it taken down because it is filing an insurance claim.

In the meantime, it plans to borrow and rent instruments, in hopes the band won't miss a beat.  

"While there may be some instruments gone, there are sufficient left, that even today, during class, performance was taking place," district spokesperson Sheila McCabe told KTVU.

"I always leave my trombone in the same place, every single day," noted Drum Major Veronica Tang, who said, the old, spare instruments left behind aren't anything close to what they lost.

"Being a senior, finding out we won't even be having a spring season, and doing this since freshman year, it's really heartbreaking," said Tang.

Their instruments, students say, are kept in wire lockers or in a big cage in the room. 

Police won't discuss whether this was a break-in or crime of opportunity.    

"Really it's just disheartening that someone decided to take advantage," Fairfield Police Sgt. Jeff Osgood told KTVU, "and the students at Armijo High School are the ones paying the price for this."

Students fear the insurance process will be slow, and they will forfeit performances.

"For a lot of us, band is our passion," tuba player Ramil Chettfour told KTVU, "and we love doing this. Some of us fell in love with music, and it's just sad that this event would happen." 

Parents put the loss at about $90,000.

The school district was noncommittal, saying that it is still completing an inventory.