Did you see anything? Someone graffitied, broke windows inside Whitesville Road Elementary

Published 2:13 pm Tuesday, July 11, 2023

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The LaGrange Police Department is investigating after someone — or several someones — broke into the old Whitesville Road Elementary School building over the weekend and caused property damage.

“It appears that happened sometime between the seventh and the 10th when the officers arrived. There was a bunch of damage done inside the building, but currently there are no suspects in the incident,” said Lt. Chris Pritchett with the LPD.

Pritchett said the main display window was shattered with a cement block, a window to an old classroom was broken, four fire extinguishers were dispensed and graffiti was painted on several of the walls.

Troup County Manager Eric Mosley said his initial reaction to the break-in was frustration, as the county is in the midst of turning that area into a sports complex focused on soccer.

“It’s certainly frustrating to staff and the board of commissioner’s office, that we’re, as a county, pouring money into this facility for someone to come in and cause damage,” Mosley said. “Our hope is to create a higher quality of life for that area of town and for somebody — we don’t know who at this point — to break in, certainly is a discouraging process.”

In the aftermath of the break-in, Mosley said the county will consider installing more security measures around the building.

“As we gain more opportunity there, we certainly have plans to erect cameras and try to find ways to reinforce the windows and doors. Ultimately, we really are going to have to beef up our physical security as well. I’ve reached out to our partners at the City of LaGrange and asked for their help with the LaGrange Police force to have deputies ride through there when possible to show a greater presence of security,” Mosley said. “I think as the complex builds out, there’ll be much greater lighting as well and more people in and out of the facility which will also deter activities such as this.”

Mosley said the amount of money in damages is unknown.

“Right now we’re just trying to clean up the pieces. We’ll have quite a few broken windows, broken trophy cases, spray paint on the walls, and they discharged all of the fire extinguishers in the building. So, we’re having to clean that out. It’s more time than it is money,” Mosley said. “Certainly, again, it’s frustrating to staff and our Board of Commissioners primarily to the fact that we have invested money and time in the facility and to see someone come behind and do this is disappointing.”

As construction comes along, Mosley said the remains of the former school, the gym, will be used as a sports complex.

“Right now, our biggest focus is soccer as it’s one of our best-growing sports in Troup County, but we really want to expand to other sports and opportunities such as lacrosse and field hockey. We’re seeing that to be a very popular sport in other counties, and we’d love to be able to expand our footprint to offer more opportunities for our youth and adults,” Mosley said.

“We are looking forward to this facility coming online and ask our citizens to lookout for individuals or anybody who may have done this to please call the LaGrange Police Department or the Parks and Rec Department because ultimately, we’re going to need to help the of citizens to keep our facilities in their tip-top shape.”

Anyone with information regarding this case is asked to contact the LaGrange Police Department at (706) 883-2603.