PERU - State police are continuing their investigation of a break-in at the Peru Central School District last week.
Superintendent A. Paul Scott stated that between the late evening hours of March 22 and early morning hours of March 23, a window in the Peru High School nurse's office was smashed in order to gain access into the building.
The person or persons responsible for the vandalism accessed other offices within the school before reportedly stealing money from a desk in the Peru Middle School main office.
The initial report of the incident came from one of the district's buildings and grounds staff who routinely checks the campus, according to Scott.
"The bulk of the damage was glass - the exterior glass where we experienced someone breaking in for the burglary and also some interior glass where it was speculated at one point that the individual was trying to get into maybe one or more areas," said Scott.
Though the district campus is equipped with surveillance cameras, Scott would neither confirm nor deny if cameras caught the culprit or culprits, as the crime is still being treated as an ongoing investigation. However, Scott said he felt the smash-and-grab job was an isolated incident and one that wouldn't have been attempted unless those responsible for the act thought they'd be doing so without witnesses.
"During the day, certainly, we have lots of eyes on the campus and during those late, late hours of the evening or the early, early hours of the morning, it's certainly more and more the case we use technology to assist us and give a boost in terms of very lean staffing for those extended hours," said Scott.
State police investigator Brian Sypek said the person or persons responsible for the break-in did not appear to have full knowledge of the building's contents as the only thing officially found to be stolen at this point was a $50 bill from a desk in the middle school office. The crime was done in a "hasty" manner, added Sypek.
"It's my opinion that the person who did this just happened to find it," said Sypek. "I don't think it was planned or that this person knew where the money was ... It was just one of those things where they just fumbled upon it by accident and got lucky."
The person or persons responsible for the crime could face charges which include third-degree burglary and face up to seven years in prison if convicted, said Sypek.
Scott emphasized the school district was able to resume normal operation of the areas within the campus affected by the break-in immediately following the state police investigation of the scene March 23. The superintendent also stressed "99 percent" of those who access the campus do so respectfully and for appropriate reasons.
"This is an exception to that pattern," he said. "We would certainly hope that remains to be the case."
The school district is currently working closely with state police in following up on leads received regarding the crime. Anyone with information about the break-in is asked to contact state police at 563-3761.