School’s vandalism looks like inside job, probe finds

Daily Mining Gazette file photo Hancock Central High School was vandalized during the third week of November last year, when someone gained entry to a locked cage gate, within a locked room, within the locked school, and used at least one .177 caliber pellet gun to shoot up tumbling mats stored in the batter’s cage. An internal investigation determined the destruction was most likely committed by an employee of the school.

HANCOCK — Three months after a malicious destruction of property incident was reported to the Hancock City Police Department, the incident remains unsolved with no suspects.

The incident involved a .177 caliber pellet gun. After an internal investigation, the Hancock Public Schools District determined that the destruction was almost certainly caused by an “in-house person.”

A Hancock Police Department report, along with other pertinent documents, was obtained by the Daily Mining Gazette through a Freedom of Information Act request.

The report states at 11:05 a.m. on Dec. 7, 2018, an officer was dispatched to the high school, where he was met by superintendent Kipp Beaudoin and building maintenance supervisor Robert Brunet.

They walked the officer to a storage area just east of the school entry that was locked by key. The officer was then shown to another locked gate to the batting cages. The lock there, the report states, was secured with a combination-type lock. The combination to the lock was written on the right side of the door frame.

According to the police report, the damage found included five tumbling mats that were shot full of holes, and minor damage to the surrounding walls of the batting cage. On the floor, just outside the doorway, was cardboard that was used for targets, which were apparently attached to the mats, and four empty boxes of .177 caliber pellets were inside a nearby trash can. The subjects, the report states, had used the pellet gun, or guns, and had cleaned up the mess and left items in piles on the floor.

Beaudoin stated at the time the area was only accessible by a limited number of staff. At that point, Beaudoin and Brunet told the responding officer they were going to conduct an internal investigation into who may have brought the pellet gun, or guns, onto school grounds, causing the damage to the mats.

In a letter from Beaudoin to Hancock Police chief Wayne Butler dated Jan. 7, 2019, Beaudoin wrote that the district was turning the investigation over to the police, because the in-house investigation had made no progress.