Three teenagers who told police they walked into the Mary Esther Gonzales Senior Center on Alto Street through an unlocked door are accused of causing more than $30,000 in damage inside the city-owned facility early Monday.

Santa Fe police arrested the juveniles, two 13-year-olds and a 14-year-old — the older brother of one of the younger suspects — on suspicion of criminal damage to property and burglary.

Police responded to an alarm call and found the trio playing video games on a computer and wandering inside.

One of the boys told police they went into the senior center with no real purpose.

“Just being dumb,” the boy told an officer, according to a police report.

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Police received the alarm call just before 4 a.m. Officers described extensive damage inside the senior center, from shattered glass on a vending machine and a broken pool cue to a fire extinguisher being discharged on a pool table and in the main kitchen, which the report said was “nearly covered with a light yellow powder.”

Police also said numerous food items from a storage area and commercial walk-in freezer “had been either poured on the floor or container had been broken with the contents spilled out.”

City spokeswoman Lilia Chacon said Thursday the mess was quickly cleaned up “and the seniors didn’t miss a beat in terms of services.”

Police released the boys to their mothers after the arrests.

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(9) comments

Anya Marie

Next gen Santa Fe thugs, addicts, and abusers make their debut! Yo! Momma couldn’t be bothered about their little hitos at 4:00 a.m. because they had a needle in their arms with the good 💩! Ahhh another good high ruined....

Kathy Fish

Thirteen and fourteen? These kids' caregivers are the real criminals here. At such a young age, these arrests will affect these boys for the rest of their lives. Shameful and sad - but maybe not surprising. Tweens and teens locked up for going on four months have my sympathy. Those years were difficult enough, but being on lockdown only compounds the restlessness and discontent.

Donald Chavez

I agree teen years are difficult as it is. However, if these young teenagers are out at 4:00am, doing these kinds of activities. I very much doubt they've ever been on any kind of lockdown.

Lee DiFiore

These youths are not very smart as they should have told the cops they were vandalizing and looting to protest racial injustice. No arrest, no newspaper article just a pat on the back and a "thank you for caring". Outcome will be the same however; nothing will happen.

Gerald Joyce

Released to their mothers, who didn't know where they were at 4AM? I wonder , where they social distancing, wearing masks?

Stefanie Beninato

I agree with the other posters concerning restitution. I used to work in a juvenile justice program in Santa Fe that dealt with these types of situations. Having a teen have to listen to the effects that kid's mindless actions/destruction caused was a game changer for that teen. And they made restitution for the victim of the crime. And the big question is what were these young teens doing out in the early morning hours? Release to parents is a big nothing burger in terms of deterrence.

Thomas Pedersen

Those who caused so much damage should have to appear in court and pay the cost of the damage. The story says they were released to their mothers, but nothing about being fingerprinted, photographed or in any way exposed to the kind of treatment vandals often experience. Doesn't sound like they learned a thing; they got caught but were released. Is that teaching them consequences? I don't see it, but perhaps there is more to the story than was written. They SHOULD have been made to clean up the destruction, and there WAS lack of food service to Senior for two days. Let each sign (or have their parents do so) a promissory note...each for $10,000 AND ENFORCE it. Otherwise I guarantee these kids will re-offend.

Laurie Buffer


Laurie Buffer

I agree - they should have been required to clean up the mess and pay some kind of restitution. Will there be any charges filed or will there be any kind of consequences from the SFPD?

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