Burglars target courthouses

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Although most people wouldn’t be bold enough to break into a county courthouse, both the Hale and Perry Courthouses are inspecting crimes that occurred earlier this week.

Upon entering the Perry County Courthouse Monday morning, county employees noticed someone had broken the window and lock on the side of the building where the probate office is located.

“Someone came in through the probate office,” Perry County Chief Deputy Johnny McClenney said. “They broke into the tax assessor’s office, opened the safe and got money out of there. Then they broke into the clerk’s office and took money out of there.”

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Incident reports state the criminals damaged both a cash register and safe in the tax assessor’s office, and escaped with approximately $1,812.86 in cash. They also took $108 from the circuit clerk’s office.

If apprehended, the criminals face charges of two counts of third-degree burglary, and two counts of first-degree theft of property.

The offenders did not enter any other offices in the building and no other items were reported missing as of Thursday.

Although deputies have no leads or suspects, McClenney said they are working to make arrests.

But officials investigating the Hale County incident aren’t as sure about the cause of their Tuesday morning damage.

A broken lock and window at the back entrance of the building were the only problems the offender caused between late Monday night and early Tuesday morning.

“One of two things could have happened,” Hale County Sheriff Larry Johnson said. “It could’ve been a burglary and the thieves got scared off, or someone could’ve gotten locked in the building and couldn’t get out. But we aren’t too sure which of the two it is.”

According the Johnson, the latter situation is possible if someone was in the bathroom after the building was locked for the night, since the building’s locks can only be opened by key.

“They only broke a window and the lock on the rear door,” Johnson said, “Nothing’s missing and no offices were been broken into.”

Although nothing was missing, deputies are still trying to find out who and what caused the break in, or break out.