By Victor Rodriguez
On Tuesday, Nov. 13, two Cleveland faculty members arrived at The Land unaware of the damage two individuals had left in their wake.
The office of football coach Vinnie Johnson and classroom of English teacher Louis Hernandez had been ransacked, trashed, and left in disarray. An alarm was set off at 1:17 AM, alerting the school police.
“They [the school police] called it vandalism, but really? It’s mayhem.” Hernandez said.
Upon opening his classroom, he was alerted by the distinct odor of Pine-Sol – spilled all over the floor and the desks – but the damage extended further than cleaning supplies. His computer screen had been smeared with sunscreen, while drawers full of student work and other important documents were destroyed. Several trophies earned by the cross country team, which Hernandez coaches, were broken.
Among the destruction, the two suspects had left sets of footprints leading to opposite sides of the room. “One guy’s intention [was to be there] to throw things on the floor; the other was looking for money,” said Hernandez, “They [the suspects] used my shot-put bag to put the change in, because it’s all they really got.”
The cash was recovered by police in pursuit, though the suspects themselves were not.
One of the perpetrators had left a calling-card - the moniker “Venumm” written in chalk – after a failed attempt to scratch the chalkboard with a knife.
“This guy [Venumm] was really brazen, to put his name on the board,” said Hernandez.
This is the first time Hernandez’s room has been broken into in seven years. However, it is not the first sighting of the so-called “Venumm.” Campus security guard Richard Gallegos has confirmed prior locations where similar graffiti-style writings were seen.
Hernandez hypothesizes that if given enough time, the two suspects would have tried to set the classroom on fire. He had found a lighter and charcoal lighter fluid. The lighter fluid, along with the pine-sol, may have been intended to be used as accelerants to feed the flames.
Throughout the initial discovery and analysis, Hernandez was provided with a temporary classroom in N4 for the remainder of the day.
Despite the obvious vendetta portrayed by two individuals, Hernandez remained calm, and continued to teach in the temporary classroom while the school police finished up their analysis.
There are some anomalies in this case of breaking and entering. It was confirmed by school police that the suspects who entered did not have keys to either Johnson’s or Hernandez’s rooms.
In addition, the vandalism occurred on Hernandez’s birthday. It is uncertain whether the two events have any correlation.
Johnson could not be reached for comment.