While County Commission Chairman Dean Nieder was in Seattle learning how to run the county, someone or several someones decided to learn more about what was in his Lone Star-area house and then trash it.
Douglas County sheriff's deputies were alerted to the break-in at 4:27 a.m. Tuesday by a 911 hang-up call made from the house. They arrived to find extensive damage but no suspects.
Undersheriff Kenny Massey said it was the first time he'd heard of a burglar calling the police on his or her own.
"My feeling would be they wanted somebody to find it," Massey said.
Nieder and his wife, Martha, were in Seattle this week where Nieder was attending the American Planning Assn. national planning conference, along with several other members of city and county government.
Nieder was expected to return to Lawrence Tuesday night, ahead of schedule, County Administrator Craig Weinaug said.
Until they return, Massey said investigators won't be sure if anything has been taken or if it was purely vandalism. The Nieders also will know if anyone was supposed to be watching the house, Massey said.
Massey said he wasn't sure if the media coverage of Nieder's trip might have contributed to the incident.
-- Kendrick Blackwood's phone message number is 832-7221. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.