Vandals trash Historic Natchez Foundation offices

Published 12:19 am Sunday, October 14, 2012

NATCHEZ — Would-be thieves burglarized and — in an apparent panic to get out after an alarm was activated — vandalized the Historic Natchez Foundation early Saturday morning.

HNF Executive Director Mimi Miller said she received a call that an alarm had been activated at the HNF’s South Commerce Street offices at 12:10 a.m.

When she arrived, Miller said she found where the vandals had thrown a potted plant from the HNF’s front porch through a window, scattering glass and dirt across the floor.

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When the thieves entered the building, its burglar alarm — which blares the word “intruder”— was activated, and the thieves apparently ran to the back of the building to get out, knocking over crates full of T-shirts for the Great Mississippi River Balloon Race before entering an office space in the back of the building, where they swept a desk clear but did not touch any of the electronics in the room, Miller said.

Finding the only exit from that office to be one-and-a-half floors above the ground, Miller said she believes the intruders ran out of the office, knocking a display case down a half flight of stairs before running into the building’s basement, which would have been pitch black at that time.

In the basement, the vandals crashed into and knocked over tables before trying to exit out a door on the building’s north side that was chained shut. Miller said she believes the intruders ultimately exited the building through the window they broke when entering.

While the would-be thieves left a mess behind, it appears nothing was actually taken, Miller said.

“Do I think they wanted to steal something? Yes,” she said. “But we don’t have anything to steal. Maybe they really wanted a balloon race T-shirt — that’s what was hanging in the window they broke.”