Vandals targeting vacant Hannibal school - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Vandals targeting vacant Hannibal school

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One of the back doors is boarded up. One of the back doors is boarded up.
Broken window at the old Stowell Elementary. Broken window at the old Stowell Elementary.
Vandals strike at old Stowell Elementary School. Vandals strike at old Stowell Elementary School.
Entrance is damaged at school building. Entrance is damaged at school building.
Owner of the school is talking with WGEM reporter Kaylee Pfeiferling. Owner of the school is talking with WGEM reporter Kaylee Pfeiferling.
HANNIBAL, Mo. (WGEM) -

Vandals in Hannibal targeted an abandoned elementary school.

John Paul Tomko owns the old Stowell Elementary School and says he's had enough. Boarded up windows and broken glass is what you'll see outside the vacant building. Tomko bought the school building five years ago with plans to restore it into a community center. 

"Each time that these juveniles break into the facility, it's costing us money that we could be using to open it," said Tomko.

It's not just a recent problem. Tomko says this has been an ongoing problem for the past two years. 

"We had vandals do property damage two years ago, four of them I caught in an observation surveillance that I did," Tomko said. "They broke in two days in a row and I caught them on the third day doing $10,000 worth of damage."

Within the last two weeks vandals have hit again, costing him another $700.

Lieutenant Michael Routh with the Hannibal Police Department says a crime like this is one of convenience. 

"You have juveniles who are walking through the area, they're bored, they see a rock or something and they throw it and it breaks out a window. One window turns into two windows. Two windows turn into three windows," Lt. Routh said.

Lieutenant Routh says officers patrol through the area randomly throughout their shift hoping to deter criminals. Meanwhile, Tomko hopes juveniles in the area realize vandalism isn't a victimless crime. 

"There's just, in my opinion as a chaplain and a pastor, an erosion of family values and respect for private property," said Tomko.

Tomko is now looking at installing motion sensors and night vision cameras so they can catch those responsible if this happens again. 

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