After internal investigation, vandalism reported to police

HANCOCK — In light of an internal investigation into a vandalism incident that occurred in the high school last November that brought no results, duperintendent Kipp Beaudoin turned the matter over to the Hancock Police Department for a criminal investigation in early January.

Beaudoin originally hoped the matter could be resolved internally, he wrote in a Jan. 7, 2019, letter to police chief Wayne Butler. The letter was obtained by the Daily Mining Gazette through a Freedom of Information Act request.

At the time of the initial contact between the school and the officer who responded to the complaint, filed by Beaudoin and board member Randy Heinonen, Beaudoin stated the desire of the district to conduct an internal investigation was “in the hopes that if school personnel were involved that someone could voluntarily come forward and relieve the need for a criminal investigation.”

The incident occurred between Nov. 9 and Thanksgiving 2018,” the letter said.

“Specifically, there is the appearance of pellet damage from a .177 gun to our batting cage, tumbling mats and minor damage to the surrounding walls located in Room 109 of the High School,” Beaudoin said.

On Dec. 7, 2018, Heinonen, who is also the schools softball coach, contacted building maintenance supervisor Robert Brunet after he entered Room 109 to use the batting cage and found damage to several tumbling mats, the net used for the batting cage and the walls. The approximate replacement cost of the mats is $1,920, the letter stated, and $345 in damage to the batting cage net.

According to Brunet, the combination for the cage gate lock is written lightly adjacent to the lock. Although not easily detected, the letter states, it has the appearance of the location of the information was for access.

“Moreover, Room 109 is to be locked at all times,” the letter stated, “therefore, it is the position of the district for a person to get into the locked portion of Room 109, they would have needed access to the building from outside, access to Room 109 and then breach the (combination) lock.”

Only a small number of staff have the key to Room 109.

“It is now our concern it would have the appearance that the district is covering up for an in-house person” if the matter was not reported to the police, the letter said.