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Disabled 'at its core': Alleged York City Hall attacker facing trial; costs hit upward of $500K

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch

An out-of-town man accused of breaking into York City Hall and destroying the city's computer services is now facing trial in county court after waiving his right to a preliminary hearing in the case.

Kevin Isaiah Waller appeared via video teleconference from York County Prison at Monday's hearing before District Judge Ronald Haskell Jr., who scheduled the man's formal court arraignment for Oct. 14.

Waller, 24, formerly of Philadelphia, remains in county prison on $100,000 bail, charged with the felonies of burglary, criminal trespass and criminal mischief for the Aug. 5 break-in at City Hall, 101 S. George St.

He's also being held on an additional $20,000 bail in a second break-in, which happened just before the City Hall incident, court records state. Waller is accused of stealing a fire extinguisher worth $300 and causing more than $2,200 in damages to 128 S. George St.

He also is accused of trespassing at a Manchester borough home, police have said.

Waller was arrested at 9:12 p.m. Aug. 5 in the basement of City Hall after an alert tipster called 911 to say she'd seen a shirtless man with a face covering use a fire extinguisher to break into the building, charging documents state.

Kevin Isaiah Waller

Officers found the shirtless Waller in the basement of City Hall holding the extinguisher and several laptop computer bags, according to documents.

Evaluation done: Defense attorney Heather Reiner said her client has already undergone a mental-health evaluation.

Haskell made it part of Waller's bail release conditions, and York County Common Pleas Judge Gregory M. Snyder ordered one be performed after Reiner filed a motion requesting it, Reiner said.

The attorney said she cannot discuss details of Waller's evaluation publicly without his permission.

She said she has been unable to speak with her client because of the prison's COVID-19 restrictions but hopes to get Waller out on bail.

Upwards of $500K: Philip Given, chief of staff for York Mayor Michael Helfrich, said the costs for getting City Hall back up and running are upward of $500,000 at this point.

"We anticipate it will be covered by insurance," he said. "Nevertheless, it's still a huge impact on us."

The half-million-dollar figure doesn't account for lost revenue, he said.

Given said the attack completely disabled City Hall "at its core."

"It's been a rough month," he said.

So far, the recovery "has been a bit more staggered ... than we would've expected," Given said.

"We are working on bringing services online as we can," he said.

For example, the city's large-item pickup information came back online Monday, he said, and it's anticipated that the city will resume taking tax and ticket payments online perhaps as early as next week.

York City Hall in York City, Friday, March 23, 2018. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Phone-service woes: "The biggest priority right now is the landline phone service," Given said, which affected both City Hall and the York City Police headquarters at 50 W. King St. 

The amount of damage done to City Hall's computer servers was extensive and is taking time to fix, according to Given.

"We essentially had to start from scratch," a service at a time, he said. "This is purpose-built hardware" that has to be ordered, created, delivered and installed.

"It's not something we can snap our fingers and make happen," he said.

Costs also include fixing physical damage to the building.

York City Police allege Waller smashed things, flooded City Hall with water and poured chemicals on items inside.

— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.

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