Posted: Sep 16, 2013 7:05 PM by Melissa Anderson - MTN News
Updated: Sep 16, 2013 7:05 PM
HELENA - A break-in at the Helena Water Treatment Facility early Sunday morning has resulted in the theft of a vehicle and damage to a gate.
The burglary has Helena city officials taking a closer look at their security system to the plant.
The crime was reported shortly after 6 a.m. on Sunday when someone broke inside the 8-foot high gated and fenced water treatment plant.
The suspect gained access into the building by throwing a rock through a window leading into the break room. Once inside, the suspect stole two cell phones and a 2010 GMC Sierra work truck, driving it through this garage door, and then through the closed security.
"You know it's an 8-foot high chain link fence with barbed wire, the place is secure. Somebody must have crawled in somehow and broke out" said Helena City Manager Ron Alles.
The truck was later found just south of Missoula with some damage.
Missoula County authorities, the FBI, and Helena-area law enforcement are processing fingerprints and other evidence that may be associated with the crime.
Officials say that nothing was tampered with inside the water plant.
"What I would say and assure to folks is that the water supply is safe. It's been tested and everything is top notch right now and there is nothing to worry about," said Alles.
This is the first time the city has ever had any issues involving crimes at the Ten Mile plant since it was first built.
But due to the vulnerability shown by this incident, the city will take a closer look at improving security, which may include video surveillance or better alarm systems.
"We're going to review the security measures we currently have at the site. And we'll evaluate that and see if there is some other improvements we can make," Alles said.
No suspects have been identified in the case.
One plant operator estimates the total damages in excess of $50,000.