Insiders among suspects in admin building break-in

By Ann Knef | Jul 14, 2005

Intruders at the Madison County Administration Building in Edwardsville--who looted and vandalized several offices in the four-floor building sometime overnight Wednesday--will face felony criminal charges, according to Madison County Sheriff Robert Hertz.

An intense investigation ensued Thursday after a break-in was discovered at 5:30 a.m.

Hertz said an undisclosed amount of cash was stolen from several offices in the building, including the Madison County Credit Union, cafeteria and in the Emergency Services, County Clerk’s and Recorder of Deeds offices.

Money also was taken from employees’ drawers, Hertz said.

“It doesn’t appear to be forced entry,” he said.

A team of Illinois State Police evidence technicians joined the search. Possible suspects include employees, custodians and their subcontractors and stow-away civilians, Hertz said.

Madison County Board Chairman Alan Dunstan, whose first floor office was targeted but not broken into, said an ATM machine in the county administration building had been burglarized twice in the last year.

“We knew we had a problem and we have been dealing with it,” he said. Dunstan would not comment on what types of security measures are being added to the building.

Hertz said video surveillance is in the process of being installed in the administration building.

“This is not London,” Dunstan said. “It’s unfortunate that it happened. We’re going to get over this.”

While many Madison County employees were inconvenienced by the crime, the building's temporary closure also meant a young couple had to endure the postponement of their wedding.

Paul Youngblood and his fiance Jessica Benson could not get a marriage license they sought Thursday.

"We came for our license so we could get married tomorrow, but the building was closed," Youngblood said. "It gives us an excuse to elope to Vegas."

The building's cafeteria, one of the hardest hit areas, forced county employees to make alternative plans for getting lunch, snacks, and cold beverages.

Monica Pritchard, the manager at Subway Sandwiches on Main Street in Edwardsville, noticed a surge in business Thursday.

"We had many people come in for just a soda or a bag of chips," she said. "There was definitely more volume in here today."

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