Officials don't think man targeted Lincoln home

By Alex Davis |

Published 01/28 2014 09:42AM

Updated 01/28 2014 09:48AM

SPRINGFIELD -- You could call it a crime against Honest Abe. It was the biggest break-in ever against the Lincoln Home in Springfield. WCIA-3's Alex Davis finds out if anything could have been done differently.

"He just saw a structure and saw that it was accessible."

National Park rangers are shaking their heads over what appears to have been a senseless crime.

"The intent was there to enter a house, but the intent was not there to vandalize an historic structure."

On January 18, 23-year old Jordan Clark, broke state and federal laws at the Lincoln Home National Historic Site.

"The suspect reached the site well after things were already locked up for the night, including the gate which leads to Mr. Lincoln's property. Somehow, he managed to get through, though, and that's where he found the two basement windows."

Clark busted the cellar windows out with bricks before climbing into the lower level.

"We believe he was under the influence of something and I'm not convinced he realized what he was breaking into."

Inside, he tinkered around, causing a flood and triggering numerous alarms, alerting police and rangers, of his unwelcome visit.

"Everybody did exactly what they were supposed to do. Everything we train for worked exactly the way it was supposed to."

Clark was not able to reach inside the home from the basement, but his damages added up to about $1,000. He was arrested on site.

"I don't think he had the intent to hurt the Lincoln Home Site at all. He just picked the wrong house in town."

Wednesday, he pleaded guilty to vandalism and trespassing in federal court.

"He stated numerous times he did not know where he was at or what house he had picked. It was just a house."

In the days following the event, rangers are rehashing the incident seeing if it could have been prevented.

"We sat down and we went over everything that happened, moment-by-moment and made sure that everything did work properly."

Wanting to make sure it doesn't happen again.

"We always hope for the best, but we prepare for the worst."

The rangers want to be sure the public knows they take these crimes seriously. In this case, Clark is forced to pay $3,000 in restitution and serve time.

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