Two seniors who would have graduated with their Roseville High’s senior class were arrested Thursday on suspicion of setting a fire that destroyed the school’s graduation stage and heavily damaged part of the synthetic football field.
Roseville police say they arrested Roy Jordan Loya, 18, and a 17-year-old male, on suspicion of arson, felony vandalism and conspiracy.
At about 1:30 a.m. Thursday, police and firefighters responded to the high school for a report of smoke coming from the stadium. There they found the temporary graduation stage burned and an extensive area of the synthetic turf blackened, according to a police spokeswoman. Arson is suspected and the blaze is under investigation.
The high school graduation ceremony for Roseville High is still scheduled on the football field at 7 p.m. Friday . Roseville Joint Union High School District made arrangements for a new stage and turf.
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The district had offered a reward of $1,000 for information leading to the arrest of whoever committed the arson. The two teens were arrested after the Roseville police officer assigned to the school and school officials investigated and identified them as suspects.
“This goes way beyond a prank,” said Steve Williams, executive director of personnel with the district.
The parking lot in front of the school was filled with police cars Thursday afternoon. Two investigators were seen in the school office requesting information on specific students.
Standing outside the school, senior Marissa Kellogg, 18, said that social media has been ablaze with rumors that the arson was a senior prank.
She called the incident “disrespectful to our graduating class.”
Roseville police said that the school district has pegged the damage at $100,000.
There had been no threats or clues about the vandalism, Williams said. He was disheartened for the seniors of Roseville High.
“You graduate from high school one time,” Williams said. “For something like this to happen is very sad. It is a major distraction, but we will not allow it to disrupt our honoring our class of 2014 at Roseville High School.”
Felicia Taeza, 17, a junior, called the arson a mindless act and extremely disappointing for seniors.
“I feel bad for all the seniors,” she said. “They have been here for four years. They are super-excited about graduation. Their families, even from out of state, are coming to see them at the brand new football stadium. And now it is ruined. I think it is ridiculous.”
Williams said that the district contracts with a security firm two days before scheduled graduations at its schools. A security guard noticed the smoke and reported it to the proper authorities.
The Placer County jail online booking report indicated that Loya was being held in lieu of $150,000 bail. Attempts to reach members of his family were unsuccessful.
According to the website Maxpreps.com, Loya was a member of Roseville High’s varsity football and baseball teams during his junior and senior years.