>A suspect broke into Madras High School on Nov. 27 and stole items from the science lab
Last Tuesday, Nov. 27, Madras High School officials evacuted students from their building around 9:30 a.m. while police searched the school for evidence of a bomb.
Why? A message was found shortly before the evacuation in the hallway near the building's entrance. It read, "Can you find the bomb?"
"We're taking this very, very seriously," said Madras Chief of Police Enis Smith. "We are actively working this case and we have some suspects."
It didn't take investigators long to determine that the message scratched into the wall was likely related to an incident in the early morning hours of Nov. 27.
A janitor working the graveyard shift spotted a male prowler in the building walking with a crowbar and chased the suspect out of the building to 10th Street before losing him.
It was later determined that the suspect had stolen items from the school's science lab and about $8.50 from the attendance office, MPD Capt. Tom Adams said. That person is believed to be behind the bomb hoax.
"It's unfortunate that some people have criminal minds," said officer Dave Allison of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, who works in the school district. "But the bottom line is we're going to do whatever it takes to keep the kids safe and make sure they get an education."
The 509-J School District has an emergency plan in the event of a major crisis.
Assistant Principal Brad Sperry said he had never experienced such an event in his three years with the school. He urged students to call the school's anonymous hotline at 475-7265 and said a $50 reward was being offered information leading to the arrest or conviction of the suspect.
Students expressed a mix bag of emotions regarding the bomb scare.
Tiffany Donnelly, a freshman, said she was frightened by the evactation and the message in the hallway.
"What if it happens again and it's for real?" she asked. "I don't feel like blowing up anytime soon."
Her friend, Jessica Allen, a sophomore, said she was one of many kids picked up from from school that day by their parents.
"After almost losing a cousin in New York, this just doesn't seem right," said Gina Foster, a sophomore. She left this message for the suspect: "Take it out on a stuffed animal."