Mohsin A. Syed, 21, of 15 Cherry St., Southborough, and Pedro Laroque, 20, of 15 South Central St., Milford, were arrested at 5:27 a.m. yesterday and charged with nighttime breaking and entering of a building, a felony, and malicious destruction of property over $250, police said.
The two suspects broke in at the back of the school, through a room used for an early childhood class, said Superintendent Thomas Davoren.
"They broke in by pushing open a window," said Principal John Brucato.
They likely believed the force of the vending machines hitting the ground would cause them to open, Police Chief Thomas O'Loughlin said.
"They would then have access to money, food, soda, whatever they could get their hands on," O'Loughlin said.
But their activity caught the attention of Peter Ferrelli of Milford, a custodian on duty, who saw them fleeing, called police and gave officers a description of the suspects.
They were caught almost immediately around the corner from the school, on Walker Avenue Extension, O'Loughlin said.
"The custodian deserves a lot of credit," O'Loughlin said, adding that only two people were involved in the crime.
"I have to praise the Police Department," said Brucato. "They always respond and get here fast."
O'Loughlin said he originally believed the incident to be an end-of-the-year prank by students, but that was not the case. "They were not high school students: they were there to commit a crime, pure and simple," O'Loughlin said.
"It's very perplexing for me," said Brucato. "These were a couple of kids who were not connected in any way to the school. I don't know what they had in mind." They did not attend Milford High, he said.
"I will press charges," he said.
"I think we are protected," Brucato said. "What we can continue to do is improve on the technology that we have." He noted that the school uses video surveillance.
It was business as usual at the school yesterday, with all classes as scheduled, Davoren said. "It did not really disrupt our programs," Davoren said, noting the school's busy week, which included an awards presentation last night. "In no way was this a threat to the student body or staff."
"These kids are extremely resilient," said Brucato. "Kids aren't responsive to that kind of stuff. Their usual response is, 'What a stupid thing to do."'
The damage has been cleaned up and the school is cooperating with police, Davoren said.
"There's definite closure at this point."
Paul Crocetti can be reached at 508-634-7583 or firstname.lastname@example.org.