A former Reuter Pipe Organ Co. employee is one of two men held in connection with the beating of a night watchman during a burglary.
Two Jefferson County men were arrested this morning in connection with the burglary of Reuter Pipe Organ Co. and the beating of the company's night watchman.
Police Sgt. Rick Nickell said a 26-year-old Grantville man and a 29-year-old Lecompton man were arrested on charges of attempted murder, aggravated burglary and theft. They were booked into the Douglas County Jail late this morning.
Either late Monday night or early Tuesday morning, the pipe organ firm at 612 N.H. was burglarized. Night watchman Harold L. Galyardt, 65, Lawrence, was severely beaten. He was in critical, but stable, condition this morning at the Kansas University Medical Center in Kansas City, Kan., where he was taken by Life Flight helicopter Tuesday morning.
One of the suspects is a former employee of the pipe organ company, police said.
"We don't know the exact motive or sequence," Police Chief Ron Olin said this morning.
Police were conducting interviews this morning to determine more details, Olin said.
Nickell said he could release no further information about the incident. Police reports will be forwarded to the Douglas County district attorney's office, which will review them before filing any court charges, according to Dist. Atty. Mark Knight.
Nickell said 12 to 16 officers and detectives worked on the case, starting about 7 a.m. Tuesday, when police were notified by one of Galyardt's co-workers. The co-worker, concerned when he saw Galyardt's vehicle still in the firm's parking lot an hour after he normally leaves work, discovered Galyardt lying unconscious in a dark room in the basement of one of the two buildings that make up the Reuter complex.
Albert Neutel, president of the long-ztime Lawrence firm, said it will be difficult for Reuter workers Thursday morning as they walk into the buildings where they know their co-worker was attacked.
When the 40 employees of the pipe organ manufacturing and repair company return to work, they will have a plantwide meeting. Neutel has asked a mental-health professional to talk at that meeting. And Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center will have three or four people on standby to talk with Reuter employees about the incident.
"We're a family here," Neutel said. "It's so close."
Galyardt has worked as the firm's night watchman since the early 1980s.
"He's such a doggone nice guy -- and so close to retirement," Neutel said.
But that didn't mean that Galyardt necessarily would have retired, Neutel said, adding that a number of Reuter employees are older than 65.
"He loved his work," Neutel said.