Document reveals some details on Cape Girardeau office vandalism

Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Police released this photo of a person they believe was involved in the vandalism of a building at 3065 William St. in Cape Girardeau. (Submitted image)

A probable-cause statement released Tuesday details the moments leading up to vandalism that caused extensive damage to a Cape Girardeau building and the eventual confession by a suspect in the case.

Prosecutors charged Travis Henry Fornkohl, 32, with second-degree burglary and first-degree property damage in connection with the June 30 vandalism at the Auburn Park Place office building, 3065 William St.

The statement, by Cape Girardeau Detective Shawn Davis, details what investigators believe happened leading up to a fire alarm calling emergency personnel to the scene.

An anonymous informant directed authorities to Fornkohl. Authorities on Friday approached Fornkohl at his home, the statement said, and he agreed to go to the police station, where he waived his rights to not answer questions, the statement said.

During investigators' interview with Fornkohl, he confessed to entering the building through an unsecured door, the statement said. He told detectives he wanted to get to the roof and tried to use an elevator, which would not operate. Fornkohl then took the stairs to the upper floors. He tried but failed to open the water main cap on the fifth floor, but was able to open the 6-inch line on the sixth floor, he said.

Travis Fornkohl

Surveillance video from a Drug Enforcement Administration office on the building's fifth floor showed a man, later identified as Fornkohl, walking through the building.

On the fifth-floor landing, he tampered with a keyless entry pad, attempting to enter the DEA offices, the statement said. He then tried and failed to open a water main valve on the fifth floor. Fornkohl then headed up the stairwell, the statement said.

Moments later, the video shows water pouring down the stairwell from the sixth floor.

According to the statement, Fornkohl told investigators he panicked when he opened the valve and ran back down the stairs, leaving the water running out of the valve.

The release of water set off fire alarms at 7:42 p.m.

Fornkohl fled the building and drove away, first heading to St. Louis, then returning home, the statement said.

Firefighters arriving on the scene noticed water running down the outside of the building from the top floors, the statement said.

Fornkohl's attorney, Malcolm Montgomery, said he was aware the probable-cause statement said there was a confession, but he wanted to look at the evidence to see if the alleged confession would be accepted in court.

"I have to look at all the facts. I haven't had a chance to do that yet," Montgomery said.

Montgomery said he hopes to find a way of getting Fornkohl released from jail next week.

"He has a very close-knit family who is most caring and they are very concerned," Montgomery said.

MedStop One, a family medical practice on the first floor of the building, sustained significant damage, practice administrator Dave Cantrell said.

"Damage was extensive," he said. "It's going to max out my insurance policy. We had about $70,000 in damage. We reopened Monday."

The office continues to dry and remains aesthetically unappealing, he said. Workers had to rip up a new laminate floor in the office. The business will have to close for several days to make repairs and replace the flooring after the structure has completely dried, Cantrell said.

"The ripple effect of this -- it's hard to guess how much business we've lost," Cantrell said. "It's been an inconvenience for our patients. People have had to go elsewhere."


Pertinent address:

3065 William St., Cape Girardeau, Mo.

Map of pertinent addresses

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