Police: School break-ins unrelated

Police officers are looking for several people who broke into two Franklin schools — or tried — last month.

Franklin Community Middle School was burglarized once in July, just a few days after burglars unsuccessfully tried to get into the school by climbing onto the roof.

In separate incidents, the high school was burglarized twice this summer.

A safe and three digital cameras were stolen from Franklin Community High School overnight by one man July 13. The same day, school officials discovered that generator batteries had been stolen from the school by another burglar. Then, two people broke into the middle school about two weeks later.

The burglaries are unrelated, and the crimes were likely committed by separate people, Franklin Superintendent David Clendening said.

The camera theft and middle school burglary have two factors in common: They both happened just after midnight, and those involved wore shirts covering the lower half of their faces to hide their identity.

“I don’t think there’s any connection between the two, at least at this point,” Franklin Police Detective Sgt. John Borges said.

School officials said they aren’t sure when the generator batteries were taken.

The police department has received tips on the burglary cases from school employees and after posting photos of the surveillance footage on social media. All three cases are under investigation, and officers are following up on leads, Borges said.

In one of the high school break-ins, a man opened up an outside door with a key to the school. He stole a safe from the band office, went into the locker rooms in the athletics wing and took three cameras from the FCTV classroom, where students film video announcements. Most of the burglar’s time was spent on the east side of the building near the auditorium, Clendening said. The burglar stayed in the school building for about an hour.

Security footage caught the burglar pulling the safe from the band room behind him as he walked out.

According to the surveillance footage, the burglar had his face covered with a Butler Bulldogs T-shirt and wore black gloves, a gray sweatshirt and white shorts.

Franklin police officers swabbed a fan that was moved by the burglar for possible fingerprints or DNA.

Another person cut off the lock to the door where generators are kept in the high school, Borges said. Someone stole the batteries about the same time as the July 13 burglary incident, but it does not appear to be the man who took the cameras and safe, he said.

On July 26, two people broke into Franklin Community Middle School through a latch door on the roof. The two men used a trash can to climb onto the roof and damaged the gutters while climbing up and down, according to the police report.

The two men stole snacks from the cafeteria but did not take anything of significant value, middle school Principal Steve Ahaus said. They were in the school about 30 minutes but could not reach many of the classrooms, offices or hallways because they were locked, Ahaus said.

Just days before the two broke into the middle school, two men attempted to climb onto the roof, Ahaus said. Security footage showed two people stacking boxes and items to try to reach the roof but were unsuccessful, he said. Police were notified, and officers spent more time patrolling the area. A few days later, the burglars returned and climbed onto the roof.

This is the first time someone has broken into the middle school since he became principal four years ago, Ahaus said.

The school district is increasing security at the school buildings and finding additional ways to make sure no one can climb to the rooftop at the middle school, Clendening said.