Days before the federal government opened an investigation into the Flint water crisis, someone broke into a vacant City Hall office full of documents related to the embattled Michigan city’s water system.
Nearly three months later, officials have confirmed that a TV went missing, but little else is known, according to the Flint Journal.
Without suspects or a firm handle on what else may have been swiped, authorities told the paper last week that the crime may remain unsolved.
No warrants have been issued in the case, but officials don’t shy away from speculative statements that stop just short of conspiracy theories.
“It was definitely an inside job,” Police Chief Tim Johnson told the Journal. “The power cord (to the TV) wasn’t even taken. The average drug user knows that you’d need the power cord to be able to pawn it.
“It was somebody that had knowledge of those documents that really wanted to keep them out of the right hands, out of the hands of someone who was going to tell the real story of what’s going on with Flint water.”
The break-in was discovered by a City Hall employee who returned to work after a break on Dec. 28 and noticed a broken window, according to the Journal.
Surveillance footage showed someone leaving the scene with a TV that investigators believe was removed from the room in question, the paper reported.
No other offices were targets, the Journal reported.
Flint Mayor Karen Weaver told the paper that the break-in was suspicious, but she stopped short of calling it an “inside job.” She noted that documents were scattered across the room when the break-in was discovered, making it difficult to determine what — if anything — had been taken.
“Well, sure, (it’s suspicious) when they go into a room where all the water files were and they take a TV, but not the cord to make it work, yes,” Weaver said.
“They had to know what room to go into, I could just say that,” she added.
Authorities said they cannot be sure about what went missing because they hadn’t done an inventory of the room. State and local police are still investigating the crime. For now, a frustrating reality remains: Nobody seems to know anything.
“We don’t know if papers or files were taken because papers were all over the floor,” Weaver told the Journal. “Maybe papers were taken, maybe they weren’t. We just don’t know.”
On Jan. 12, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder dispatched his state’s National Guard to begin handing out bottled water, filters and testing kits to residents in the city of nearly 100,000.