Man arrested after North Mesquite High School vandalized

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Police say they have a suspect in custody for breaking into North Mesquite High School and vandalizing the campus on Monday.

Officers took 24-year-old Joseph James Morris into custody on Tuesday in a Mesquite neighborhood after a FOX 4 viewer saw surveillance pictures of the vandal on the news and then tipped off police.

Witnesses say he was caught hiding in a backyard. Trystan Suter took cell phone video of police detaining a man in the neighborhood near South Parkway and Judy Drive. Police had been using a K9 to search that area for a possible suspect.

The break-in and vandalism happened early Monday morning at the high school. There was clear surveillance video of the suspect.

Mesquite police said a man got in undetected. He vandalized the office, the cafeteria kitchen and a vending machine. He stayed in the building for six hours.

Police said the man also piled up electronics by the door. They believed he might have been preparing to take them when he set off an alarm and ran off.

Police released the surveillance photos of the incident on Tuesday afternoon. A short time later, they got a tip that led to the search.

“The cops came up to our door saying there was a dog that was sniffing around saying they hit a spot in our backyard, so we let him go back there,” recalled Suter. “They came inside, started searching the house and then looked out the windows and his shoes were just hanging out. The cops seen it too and then they ran back there and got him.”

Police believe before Morris went into the school, he vandalized some of the portables as well. Mesquite ISD officials said the damage was cleaned up. It's not yet clear how much the damage cost.