The investigation into the burglary of the Gardner-Edgerton High School early Sunday morning is ongoing.
At 12:03 p.m. Feb. 26, GPD patrol officers were dispatched to GEHS, 425 N. Waverly, regarding reported damage to the interior of the school.
Upon arrival, officers met with USD 231 employees, who reported finding forced entry into the school and damage to property inside the building. Once inside, officers discovered significant vandalism throughout the school.
Detectives are currently following up on numerous leads received in the last 24 hours through social media and the TIPS Hotline and continue to examine and review evidence collected at the crime scene.
“We have gotten around two dozen tips on the possible identify of the suspects and we’re following up on those leads now,” said Jim Pruetting, Gardner Police Chief. “We ask that residents continue to send in any information that may be relevant to this crime.”
One of the suspects suffered an injury, most likely a laceration to the hand or forearm resulting from their breaking a glass window, resulting in blood being found at the crime scene, according to a GPD press release. The injury should still be visible on the suspect. It should be noted that all of the blood found at the scene has since been completely mitigated, so as not to pose a safety or health hazard to students, faculty and administrators at the school.
“Gardner Edgerton School District is disappointed by the vandalism that took place at GEHS over the weekend,” said Leeann Northway, director of community relations for USD 231. “Our communities take pride in our district, and its top-notch facilities, and we condemn these actions to the highest degree.”
Specific information regarding type of vandalism, or items damaged or stolen had not been provided at press time.
“We greatly appreciate the tremendous support from our staff and community members,” Northway continued. “District officials are currently working with local law enforcement as they continue their investigation.”
While the public is encouraged to contact the GPD with any information related to this crime, there is also the option to provide tips anonymously through the Crime Stoppers TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477). TIPS may also be submitted electronically at Information received through the TIPS Hotline or website that leads to an arrest and/or filing of charges could be eligible for up to $2,000.00 in reward money.
Due to the extent of the damage and the time needed for cleanup and repair, USD 231 canceled classes for GEHS students for Feb. 27, but students returned to school Feb. 28.
It is unknown at this time the dollar amount associated with the damages or what additional loss of property may have occurred.
Video retrieved from the school’s security system shows three male suspects approximately 18-25 years of age.