Vandalized pipes

Images of some of the quarter-inch-diameter holes drilled into uninstalled pipes. 

MANKATO — The owner of Holtmeier Construction is offering a reward for information on the vandal he says “sabotaged” a utility construction project.

Joe Holtmeier says someone drilled small holes into at least six segments of water pipes that were waiting to be installed in a new residential development off County Road 26 (also called 227th Street) east of the Knollwood Park manufactured home community.

The vandalism was discovered last Thursday morning by the project’s foreman.

A sewer pipe that failed a recent pressure test also likely had unnoticed holes when it was installed, Holtmeier said. That pipe will need to be replaced.

Other recently installed water pipes might also have been vandalized, Holtmeier said, but his company has not yet tested them.

The damage could be up to $20,000, Holtmeier estimated.

Holtmeier said he suspects the damage was “sabotage” by someone with knowledge of his industry who wanted the holes to go unnoticed until after the pipes were installed. He said he does not know what the motive might have been and does not know of anyone who would want to harm his company.

“I guess I’m thankful I don’t have any suspects,” he said.

The company is offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to a conviction.

“I’d hate for this to happen again — to us or to any other company,” Holtmeier said.

The Blue Earth County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the report. The Mankato Department of Public Safety took the initial report, but Associate Director Dan Schisel said the case was turned over to the Sheriff’s Office after officers determined the vandalism occurred just outside city limits.

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