Police Ask for Help Identifying Persons of Interest
Bison statue vandalized
Published: Monday, October 15, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 15, 2012 16:10
University police are seeking the public’s help in identifying two persons of interest who may be involved with vandalism of the recently placed Bison statue.
Several individuals may be involved, but there are two persons of interest the police would like help identifying through photos.
The incident occurred at approximately 11:40 p.m. on Oct.6, according to an email sent by Director of University Police Ray Boyer on Wednesday.
Several individuals were observed getting out of a vehicle in front of the NDSU library. The individuals crossed the street toward the Bison statue, then climbed and jumped on the statue.
“During the time the individuals were at the location, it appears at least one individual intentionally vandalized the Bison,” the email read. The individuals left the area when another vehicle approached the scene.
University Police Chief Bill Vandal said he does not assume the persons of interests are NDSU students. “They are just two people of interest that we’d like to visit with…We’d like to just get the information, identify them, bring them in just to have a talk with them and see where it goes from there,” Vandal said.
He said a few people have provided information, and he would appreciate the student’s, faculty’s and staff’s help identifying the two individuals.
“Even though the images I will admit are not the most clear, I believe if people know the person, they will be able to identify them using these photos,” Vandal said.
If anyone has information about the people in the photos, they can communicate the message using the NDSU Police tip line for voice mail and text messaging at 701-526-6006. This new tip line was introduced as part of the “See something, Say something” campaign at NDSU. This tip line allows informants to remain somewhat anonymous; anonymity cannot be guaranteed under North Dakota open records laws.
The Bison statue is located south of the South Engineering building at the corner of Albrecht and 12th Avenue North. Jim and Sandra Roers, Ronald and Kaye Olson and family, and 2011-2012 Student Government were all contributors to the donated statue. It was donated in memory of Les Pavek and Michael William Barner.
Vandal said the vandalism damage occurred within the Bison Plaza, the landscaping area around the statue. He did not comment on specific damage inflicted to the monument. Lights on the monument appear damaged.
At this point in the investigation, individuals who are responsible for vandalizing the statue could face criminal mischief charges, Vandal said. Other individuals who may be involved but do not say anything to police could face charges of intentional withholding of information.
Vandal described vandalism as a destruction of property - any action that causes damage in a monetary amount. Climbing on the statue is not considered vandalism, but it is preferred that people to not climb on the statue for safety reasons, Vandal said.
“When your mind switches over to you’re doing something to someone else’s property that you wouldn’t do to your own, that’s probably an indication that you are moving towards vandalism,” Vandal said.
A similar incident occurred when the Bison sculpture south of the Bison Sports Arena was heavily vandalized and removed as a result in 2002.
Other incidents of vandalism have occurred within the past year, but that is not uncommon activity on a college campus, Vandal said.
He does not believe that Homecoming festivities had an influence on the damage inflicted on the statue, other than the fact that Homecoming draws more people to campus, he said.
Like other crimes, vandalism is more common during warmer weather and places with a large amount of foot traffic, he explained.