Deputies surprise special education students after vandals ruin pumpkin patch

TRABUCO CANYON, Calif. -- Orange County deputies stepped up when vandals ruined a pumpkin patch for special education school kids. Deputies not only caught the vandals - they also provided a big surprise.

Before the school year even started at Robinson Elementary School in Trabuco Canyon, special education teacher Cynthia Schaffer began planning for Halloween.

She planted pumpkins in the school's garden, so her 22 students would have the perfect jack-o'-lanterns.

"I came out in July and planted three plants, and they take about four months to grow, so I watered them all summer long," Schaffer said.

As they grew, her students grew more and more excited. But, one day last month, she checked on the garden and found that vandals had squashed the pumpkins, even uprooted some of them.

"It was devastating. The kids were very sad," Schaffer said.

"The pumpkins were ruined! And I was thinking I had to start all over," said Hailey Jurek, a 10-year-old student.

Schaffer called school resource officer, Orange County Sheriff's Department Deputy Calvin Silva, to report the crime.

"They kept asking, 'Hey are you going to catch the bad guy, deputy?' We had a little girl actually offer to use her karate skills when we caught the bad guy," Silva said.

Deputies said they identified two juveniles responsible for the crime.

But it didn't stop there. The Rancho Santa Margarita sheriff's office pooled money to bring a pumpkin patch to the school.

The kids got a chance to interact with deputies and pick their favorite pumpkin to take home.

Students at Robinson Elementary School and Orange County sheriff's deputies pose for a group photo.

"I just felt like it was the right thing to do," Silva said. "At the sheriff's department, we support our kids 100 percent."

The smiles on the kids' faces act as proof that Silva turned this crime into a day the students will never forget.

"It's really nice of them to help and come out and do this sweet thing for the kids. It really makes me happy," said Jacqueline Jimenez, a parent of one of the students.
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