A reward’s being offered for information in connection with damage to a facility where major statewide court cases are heard.
Six windows at the Cole County Courthouse in Jefferson City were taken out by pellet shots sometime last Saturday or Sunday.
Captain John Wheeler with the county’s sheriff’s office thinks nearby security cameras will help the investigation once it’s determined when the incident occurred. “Two in the morning, let’s say” said Wheeler. “There’s no reference to that. But let’s says if it does happen at two in the morning. If some of the video cameras show only two cars driving by at two in the morning, then that’s a good lead to follow up on to find out what they were doing, or if they saw anything.”
The Jefferson City Area Crime Stoppers is offering a $500.00 reward for information leading to arrests in connection with the damage.
Wheeler is confident the crime will be solved, but he’s not sure how long it’ll take. “Some of them, they solve themselves. People will come forward and say ‘Hey, I was drinking, being stupid’. And we can work with that. Or someone will hear somebody bragging about it in a bar or somewhere. And they say ‘Hey, that $500.00 sounds pretty good’. So they’ll pick up the phone and give us a call, and it starts from there. So it just depends.”
It’s also too early to know if the crime was the result of malicious intent and random violence. “I don’t think it was pointed at any one person because they went high on the high windows (in the upper levels of the building)” said Wheeler. “So I’m hoping that nobody had ill intent for individuals inside the county courthouse. But, you know, that’s something we have to keep in the back of our heads too.”
The 100-plus year-old building’s windows are in the process of being replaced. Presiding Cole County Commissioner Sam Bushman walked over to the courthouse at about 7 a.m. Monday when he encountered several sheriff’s deputies who were investigating the pellet shots. He says no one was in the building when the incident took place, but notes that wasn’t the case over the previous weekend. “The people putting in the windows, they actually worked Saturday, Sunday and Monday to try to play catch-up because we’re running behind. But now we’re going to have to order these specially made windows, so it’s going to mess us up there too.”
Pellet shots also took out a window at an adjacent building which houses the public defender’s office. The Cole County Sheriff’s office is also close by. Because the shots were fired from a quieter pellet gun as opposed to a higher caliber firearm, the sound was undetected inside the sheriff’s building. Anyone with information relating to the incident can call 573-659-TIPS (8477).