By Sue Ellen Woodcock
An 18-year-old Winthrop teen was released from East Boston District Court on $500 bail last Friday after being arraigned on charges of breaking and entering, vandalism, and allegedly drawing swastikas on a board in Winthrop High School. The drawing of swastikas is a federal offense and constitutes a hate crime.
According to Lt. Frank Scarpa, who was filling in for the chief who was out of town, Cairan J. Dillion, of 113 Upland Road, was arrested Thursday morning near Short Beach after a car he was riding in was pulled over by Winthrop Police.
A press conference with Scarpa, Town Manager James McKenna and the Superintendent of Schools was held after Dillionâ€™s arrest. Also attending were Sandy Pellegrino, president of Temple Tifereth Israel, and Eileen Wickham of the same temple. They had received calls of concern from several people. The drawing of swastikas surprised them, especially since Holocaust Remembrance Day was May 5.
Officials surmised Dillon allegedly had an issue with school and took out his frustrations by vandalizing several areas of the high school with a sledgehammer, including a media room and a locker room. The damage is estimated to be about $20,000, said Superintendent of Schools John Macero.
â€œWe are totally disturbed since we are a diverse community,â€ Macero said. â€œWe will continue to educate.â€
It is believed, according to videotape surveillance in the school, that Dillion allegedly entered the school sometime around 2 a.m. and left the school around 4:15 a.m., when Dillion called a local taxi company to be picked up in front of the high school.
After the school janitor discovered the destruction the first officers on the scene at 7 a.m. were Det. Dawne Armistad and Officer Freeman. The police department studied the tapes and a quickly determined the identity of the culprit. Dillion was known to police, Scarpa said, but he did not have a record.
Macero heard about the vandalism around 7 a.m. By 8 a.m. he had announced a delayed school opening. At 8:30 a.m. the school department proceeded with an awards ceremony and breakfast for other students. The MCAS exams scheduled were delayed a day and an AP exam scheduled for noon was given.
â€œI want to thank the police, custodial staff and administration,â€ Macero said. â€œThe students were back in class by 11 a.m. safe and sound.â€
Dillion is slated to return to court on June 29. In the meantime he has been ordered to stay away from the school and report to probation officers. He is also to remain drug and alcohol free, under go a mental health evaluation and follow any treatment deemed necessary.