HHS employee fired for losing master key

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - After a rash of burglaries at Hattiesburg High School, school officials started making strides to replace storm damaged cameras 11 months after the February 10, 2013 tornado. The entire surveillance system costs about $10,000, according to HHS' Communications Director, Jas N. Smith.

Security Systems Integrator was seen replacing damaged security cameras around the school Thursday morning.

In the past week, two computers were stolen last Thursday night around 10 p.m. and an additional two plus the keyboards and mice were stolen sometime over the following weekend, according to Hattiesburg Police Department Public Information Officer Lt. Jon Traxler. In October, 16 iPads and one computer were stolen from campus.

In total, nearly $15,000 of school property was stolen over a three month period.

Questions linger throughout the city regarding how the burglar entered the premises.

"We had an employee who lost the master key but when we talk about master keys, there are about 6 different sets of keys for the high school," Smith said.

Whether the lost master key goes to the areas where Apple products were stolen is a mystery.

The date the master key was lost is unknown. The employee who lost the master key was fired shortly after the incident. The key is still floating around somewhere in the community.

"We changed access points so that key kinda loses its value because it can't give you the primary entry," Smith added.

One juvenile has been charged with commercial burglary for being involved; however, no footage was captured for the weekend burglary due to the damaged security cameras.

The items were stolen from science teacher James Brownlow's classroom, and he said that the thefts are prohibiting students from using tools that could help their futures.

"It's one thing to steal my own personal items, but when you steal from students it's just ridiculous," Brownlow said. "They could really benefit from them, and its a shame when they are stolen before they are even used."

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