By Jack Molitor
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. — Police are investigating a break-in at the Wigwam on Saturday afternoon.
At around 3 p.m., somebody broke a window on the north end of the building on the first floor, entered the now-vacant former home of Anderson High School basketball and set off a number of fire extinguishers. The haze caused by the extinguishers set off the fire alarm in the structure, alerting the fire department.
Anderson police explored the surrounding area to search for the suspect, but found no one. Four officers entered the building and performed a search and also found nothing.
Anderson Police Department Sgt. Freddie Tevis said there were signs of mild vandalism inside the building, but no damage done in the gym. He said break-ins at the now empty and unused arena aren’t common, but it has happened.
“Since the [1999 fire that destroyed the old Anderson High School], we’ve had maybe three or four break-ins like this,” Tevis said. “Actually, we were just called out to investigate one a few weeks ago that was kind of similar to this. Some damage was done to some cameras and other equipment in there.”
Anderson fire crews were also called out to investigate because the initial threat of a fire. Battalion Chief Kenny Williams said there was no fire damage or evidence of arson.
The Wigwam, a 9,000-seat gym and the second-largest high school arena in the United States, has sat vacant with no tenant since 2011 when the Anderson Community School Corporation was forced to close it down. Before its closing, the gym rarely drew large crowds for games, and an estimated $350,000 a year in utility costs was no longer tenable for a building that wasn’t attached to the new high school.
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