EATONVILLE, Fla. (FOX 35 ORLANDO) - Hungerford Preparatory High School in Eatonville shut down eight years ago. The campus has since been used as a community center, utilizing the auditorium and cafeteria for youth programs and events.
In the last nine months, police say vandals have broken windows, sprayed graffiti on walls, damaged property and broken into the utility shed to cut all the electrical lines to the facility.
"A/C, the lights, anything that we were able to have functional programs went out the window,” said Eddie Cole, Mayor of Eatonville.
Mayor Cole says a fix would cost more than $52,000, money the town doesn’t have. Investigators with the Eatonville Police Department say this all stems from a ghost hunting video that was posted online last august, claiming the campus was haunted. Since the video appeared, the campus has been ransacked.
“We just couldn’t find that component of what made this change after eight years we’ve been using this facility,” said Mayor Cole.
Police say people looking for a scare has become a growing problem, since the video was posted online.
“When we started making contact with people out here on the property, they would tell us that they were looking at sites on social media , youtube and planning trips to come here,” said Det. Brodrick Lampkin, with the Eatonville Police Department.
“Now, you have another group coming in and they’re doing their own videos, as recent as yesterday,” said Mayor Cole.
The mayor believes these adventure seekers also cut the power.
“A building is not as spooky with power,” said Mayor Cole.
He says the power being cut has opened the door to vandalism, because the site is essentially abandoned and the security system is out. Those who lose out, according to the mayor, are the kids who would take part in the recreation center’s activities and those who would use the grounds for sporting events and exercise.
Police are stepping up patrolling of the site and surveillance cameras have recently been installed. Nearly a dozen arrests have been made on property, and police warning thrill-seekers to stay away or face criminal charges.