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Sunday, May 1, 2016

School 'destroyed' by Vandals

Thursday, July 15, 2004

(Photo)
One of the destroyed rooms in Meridian Elementary's portable classroom. Police were called early Tuesday to investigate the damage, which is believed to have happened over the weekend.

At least two vandals broke into a portable classroom on the Meridian Elementary campus and caused what could be felony damage with a baseball bat, police said.

City Police were called to the crime scene, a modular structure containing computers, restrooms, and classrooms, early Tuesday. According to Police Chief Mark Loudermilk, the vandals apparently entered through a door and "went on a rampage," destroying computer monitors, televisions, paperwork, and tables. A sink was plugged and the water was left turned on, structurally damaging the building itself. Loudermilk said in Tuesday's City Council meeting the water damage was so severe the building may have to be replaced.

Investigators have not determined how the door was opened. Detective Martin Beasley said there was a "tool mark" on one door, though he was not sure if that alone would have caused it to open.

"(The doors) aren't the most sturdy things in the world," Beasely said.

Loudermilk said due to the extent of the damage, it was unlikely only one person was involved.

"They basically trashed the inside," he said. "They committed a tremendous amount of damage -- one person could not do it alone.

"They destroyed the place."

While no official estimate on damages has been made, Loudermilk said he assumed it would be "well over what makes it a felony" and likely "over $2,500."

Judge Ernest Yelton said Criminal Mischief can be a Class C Felony, which is punishable by a maximum sentence of eight years, when school property is involved.

Loudermilk said vandalism, though to a much lesser extent, was done to the same building last week. In that incident, the vandals entered through a window, threw toilet paper throughout the building and smashed in "a few" of the monitors.

Police believe the same persons caused damage to an all-terrain forklift being rented by Delaware Glass and Mirror, of Muncie. The company, which was doing work at the school, said that a seat and dashboard were damaged, causing approximately $1,000 in damage.

Clay Community School Corp. Superintendent Bill Schad said he surveyed the damage early Tuesday.

"We will assess the damage, talk with our insurance company, and move on from there," he said.

The crime scene is undergoing fingerprint analysis. Loudermilk asks that anyone with information call 446-2211.



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