Police: Suspect causes thousands of dollar in damages to Austin Elementary

HARLINGEN — Police say they have arrested a man who was caught in the middle of vandalizing a local elementary school. They say he also set fire to the teachers lounge.

At approximately 11:40 p.m. Sunday night the alarm at Austin Elementary School located on the 700 block of E. Austin Street was activated.

Police say when they arrived they discovered the glass doors on the west side of the building shattered.

As officers approached, a man later identified as Carlos Javier Sifuentes, 35, ran out of the school holding a hammer.

Police said Sifuentes ran southbound while being pursued by police. He was caught minutes later about two blocks from the school.

Investigators say he broke the glass door with a wooden barricade and caused thousands of dollars in damage to vending machines and other school property and set a fire in the teacher’s lounge area.

Harlingen fire fighters were able to quickly extinguish the blaze, which caused minimal damage.

Sifuentes is facing charges of burglary to a building, arson, criminal mischief and evading arrest.