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A City Hall break-in targeted the empty office where files on the Flint water crisis are being kept. (Photo: Michigan Radio)

Amid Water Crisis, Suspicious Flint City Hall Break-in Declared 'Inside Job'

In December, an empty office where Flint water crisis files were being kept was burglarized

Nadia Prupis

An unsolved December break-in to the Flint City Hall office where files on the water crisis were being stored was "definitely an inside job," the city's police chief has told local media.

That statement raised more than a few eyebrows as Flint officials are currently being investigated for their role in the ongoing lead poisoning crisis. Three months after the burglary, there are still no suspects, and officials have only confirmed that a television has gone missing, though documents were reportedly strewn throughout the office.

The city's new police chief Tim Johnson told the Flint Journal on Friday that the circumstances are too suspicious for the break-in to have been random.

"It was definitely an inside job. 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," he said. "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 burglary was discovered after a City Hall employee returning to work after a break on December 28 noticed a broken window. Surveillance footage showed a person leaving with a TV that investigators believe came from the office. No other rooms in the building were targeted.

Days after the break-in, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, who is the target of a congressional probe into his role in the crisis, declared a state of emergency in Genesee County.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver on Friday said documents were strewn throughout the office, so it was impossible to know if any were taken, or which ones.

"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," she told the Journal.

While she declined to call it an inside job, Weaver added, "They had to know what room to go into, I could just say that."

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