Investigators from the UCSD Police Department are working with the San Diego County Crime Stoppers to identify a man who vandalized university property at Mandeville Center on Jan. 5 and incurred approximately $18,000 of damages. SD Crime Stoppers is offering up to $1,000 to anyone who can provide information to help locate the suspect.
Officials from the police department said that possible consequences for the crimes committed in this case of vandalism include arrest and, if the perpetrator is a student, academic suspension.
“We will take appropriate action based on the circumstances, which could include arrest and criminal charges filed with the district attorney,” the police said in a statement to the UCSD Guardian. “Should the suspect be a student, this would be in addition to the case being referred to student conduct for action.”
Between the hours of approximately 2 a.m. and 5 a.m., the masked culprit destroyed surveillance technology by damaging a junction box that held camera cables and used a sledgehammer to smash eight video cameras.
The same tool was used to wreck an untitled work of art from of the Stuart Collection, a fully functional drinking fountain that was originally designed by Michael Asher and had been a part of the art collection since 1991. According to the Stuart Collection’s website, the monument commemorated American institutions of defense and was thought to bring good luck to students who drank from it before an exam.
In 2014, there were 125 reported cases of vandalism on campus. Police officials added that vandalism crimes have widespread effects and that replacing damaged property on campus is an inefficient use of funds.
“Vandalism affects many members of our community, either directly or indirectly. In some cases, [vandalism] causes significant damage, which can end up costing thousands of dollars from the university’s budget,” the police department said. “We feel the funds used to repair or replace vandalized items could be better used to improve campus safety and also provide more educational opportunities.”
The suspect also broke about 10 bathroom signs and spray-painted graffiti on a wall on the first floor of Mandeville Center.
“YOU CAN PAINT OVER ME YOU CAN CATCH ME YOU CAN [EXPEL] ME I WILL STILL BE HERE,” the suspect wrote in gold.
According to SD Crime Stoppers, the suspect is a thin male who might have a small mole on the inside corner of his right eye. Surveillance footage shows him wearing a black facemask, a gray and dark, hooded jacket, dark pants and black shoes at the scene of the crime. The UCSD Police Department added that he appears to be in his 20s. Anyone with information about his identity can call Crime Stoppers at 888-580-4877 or submit an anonymous tip through their website.
The police added that some defacement cases often go unnoticed and, consequently, unreported; therefore, students are encouraged to inform officials if they observe any form of vandalism.
“We investigate and document all crimes that are reported to us,” the police department said. “If you see something, say something.”