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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Law enforcement officials are continuing to investigate a break-in at a local elementary school.

According to officials, Brazil Police Department officers were dispatched to East Side Elementary School at approximately 5:52 a.m., Wednesday morning.

Upon arrival, officers discovered the school had been vandalized overnight.

"Multiple things were broken," Brazil Police Chief Clint McQueen said. "We're still trying to find the extent of everything that has been stolen and damaged, but it was pretty extensive."

Clay Community Schools Buildings and Grounds Director Tom Reberger told The Brazil Times the school's head cook had arrived at the school and after entering the kitchen area, realized the school had been vandalized.

"When she came in through the kitchen, (she saw the perpetrators) had been through the kitchen area, pried open some milk coolers and left the walk-in freezer open," Reberger said. "She immediately left the building and called supervisors."

Minutes later, the school's head custodian arrived and called law enforcement.

Reberger added the cafeteria and main office of the school were "trashed."

"They (tore) up the main office and a few classrooms," he added. "We had a broken window where they gained access to the office."

McQueen said officers collected evidence from the scene and managed to clear the area prior to the start of school Wednesday.

He added officials believe the break-in may be tied to several burglaries throughout the county in recent weeks.

"We're trying to develop any information we can to develop any suspects in the case," McQueen said. "We encourage the public if they have any information to contact this department or the Clay County Sheriff's Department. This is a dual investigation, team effort because we've had so many burglaries in the city and the county.

"We believe they are all tied (together). Based on the way things look, it's possible that they're linked. We're not sure, but that is something we are considering."

McQueen said there have been a handful of break-ins within the city limits recently in addition to the school.

Reberger added there was an attempted break-in at Meridian Elementary School recently, but two juveniles were arrested at the scene.

He said the estimated damage regarding the East Side break-in is "minimal."

"The physical damage is about $400-$500," he said. "We've got two broken windows. Everything else ... we are able to repair ourselves. Just minor things."

Anyone with information regarding the break-in or recent break-ins throughout the county is encouraged to call the Brazil Police Department at 446-2211 or the Clay County Sheriff's Department at 448-9048.

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probably connected to the break-ins in southern Parke County as well - Collom's General Store in Bridgeton was hit twice in two weeks.

-- Posted by indianamama on Thu, Aug 16, 2012, at 12:09 PM

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