OTTUMWA—While students and staff have been enjoying their holiday break and the hallways of Ottumwa High School have been empty, an uninvited visitor found his way into the school. And he could have caused a big problem for everyone returning to school tomorrow.
On Monday afternoon, January 2nd, Ottumwa teachers and coaches Jeff Smith and Jim Nickerson were in the Physical Education area of OHS when it was discovered that a raccoon was in the wooden gym of the school. The intruder was hiding near the spiral staircase on the track. Although, Smith and Nickerson both found the incident to be humorous, they knew the importance of getting the animal out of the school before students returned.
“We knew we needed to call somebody to get some help,” explained Smith. “I suggested the police department because I knew they would have the equipment to try to catch him without hurting him.”
Sgt. Aaron Vose showed up to assist in the matter, keeping a humorous outlook on the situation.
“We thought it was a burglary in progress because of his raccoon burglar mask,” Sgt. Vose joked.
The three men then worked together to attempt to capture the raccoon. Although, the story is funny in its retelling, it was an important endeavor when considering the safety of the soon to return students.
“It was definitely not a routine call, but we really didn’t have any choice” said Sgt. Vose. “It was either practice raccoon wrangling or leave him for the students to find tomorrow.”
After about 90 minutes of wrangling and chasing the raccoon through the gym, Smith, Nickerson, and Sgt. Vose were able to remove the raccoon from the school safely and without injury, to themselves or the animal.