MORTON, Wash. -- Calling their actions despicable and unacceptable, police are asking for the public's help to identify two men who stole backpacks belonging to students from Morton Junior-Senior High School.
Surveillance video from 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 26 shows the thieves pull up in a late 90s red and white Chevy pickup truck, jump out and take the backpacks left by kids inside the gym practicing sports.
"This was a pretty brazen, cowardly act and it affects our kids directly and it affects our community," said Morton Police Chief Roger Morningstar.
"They stole not just their gym bags and their homework. They took their phones, school equipment, calculators, binders, clothing...stuff the kids need for school," he added.
Just as disturbing is the fact that the two suspects were seen earlier casing the area on the west side of the school.
"We think they were trying to size it up and figure out what they wanted to do before they actually committed the crime," said Chief Morningstar.
Police estimate the value of the stolen items at more than $5,000.
A devastating loss for some kids in this small rural community.
"Our kids were pretty impacted by this emotionally. Sometimes, we feel pretty safe and secure out here where we know everybody and then this happens and it makes you question that," said Morton School District Superintendent and Principal John Hannah.
Some of the kids worked all summer to buy their phones and other stolen items.
"For some people, it might be unfortunate. For some of our kids, in our rural community here, it's unforgiving," said Chief Morningstar.
If you can identify either of these men, please contact Lewis County communications at 360-740-1105 or submit an anonymous tip to Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-222-TIPS or using the P3 Tips App on your cell phone.
If you would like to make donations to help the kids, you can do that through the Reserve Association. Morton Police use that for their youth program and anything they get in donation wise will be documented down to the penny. They will make sure it goes directly to the families affected. Viewers can contact the office at (360) 496-6636 and an officer will call back if someone isn't there.