MEMPHIS, TN - (WMC-TV) – Thousands of dollars in renovations at the Lauderdale County courthouse have been destroyed by a deer. And the repair bill could equal just as much or more.
County commissioners were inside the courthouse talking about the budget when they heard a noise downstairs. They walked down the steps to find a very scared deer trapped inside an office.
The newly renovated court square in Ripley provides a peaceful place for visitors. But the setting was far from tranquil late last week after a break-in at the courthouse.
"We heard crashing and glass breaking and a large crashing sound like a wall was falling down," County Commissioner Lowell Tillman said.
Tillman was in a meeting upstairs Thursday night when he heard a loud noise in a downstairs office.
"I'm walking down the hall, and I hear it again, and I walk past the opaque glass when I see something move. I backed up and thought maybe it was a reflection but it moved again," he said.
When Tillman walked inside the County Trustee's, he found a four point deer inside, very agitated and confused.
"I guess I was just as confused as the deer," Lauderdale County Trustee Judy Conrad said. "I didn't know what to think."
The buck had broken through a basement window, doing thousands of dollars in damage to Conrad's office. Computers were damaged, the carpets had to be ripped up, and the walls cleaned.
"Yesterday at church I was teased quite a bit about getting my hunting license making sure I was legit to do this," Conrad said.
Game wardens advised officials to shoot and kill the deer because there was no other way to get it out of the office.
"The damage and blood the deer himself put on the walls was something you'd see out of a horror movie," said Lowell Tillman.
Now in addition to the repairs, this deer will leave a lasting impression.
"I've asked the guy preparing the meat that I want his antlers and this will go down in history for years and years," Conrad said.
The trustee's office reopened Monday. Judy Conrad says her office is working on a backup system until her computers and other office equipment can be replaced.