UPDATE: Monday October 29, 2018
According to an update of the university’s safety bulletin Monday morning, two suspects have been charged in connection with the vandalism of buildings on the east side of campus at the beginning of the month.
According to the update, Justus Kritz, 21, and Spencer Bretz, both of South Bloomfield, Ohio have been charged with six counts each of burglary, breaking and entering, tampering with coin machines, vandalism and possessing criminal tools. Neither of the suspects are students at the university.
The suspects were identified through surveillance images which were included in an Oct. 12 safety bulletin update.
Original article: Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018
Two unknown individuals vandalized the east side of campus at 9:30 p.m. Monday Oct. 1.
The vandalism included foul language in various classrooms, destruction of property, and a fire extinguisher being expelled underneath an office door. Affected rooms are Battelle 235, Learning Center 101, 102, and 103, and the disabilities office. There was also a vending machine vandalized in the basement of Ruff Learning Center.
“[They got in to] the Learning Center, Battelle Hall, graffitied the walls, stole a couple items … we’re still investigating the camera footage,” Sergeant Scott Kunkle said about the incident. At the time of entrance, a card swipe was not required and the doors were still unlocked.
“We’re still trying to identify the suspects,” Kunkle said. He guessed that the suspects are between the ages of 18 and 25, but they’re unsure whether or not the suspects were students.
Kunkle does not believe that the suspects were violent in nature. “It was young kids messing around,” he said. “I think it’s just a random act of vandalism … We’re still investigating it.”
Since it’s still under investigation, Kunkle is unsure if the suspects were under the influence of drugs or alcohol and a police report is currently unavailable. There is no estimate on the damages.
“We’re looking at burglary charge,” Kunkle said. “[Because] they broke into a secured office.”
The suspects are also facing potential charges of criminal damage, criminal mischief, and possession of criminal tools.
It is unconfirmed, but Kunkle believes that the suspects possibly found a hammer and a screwdriver on the ground that they then used as criminal tools.
A CapAlert was not issued because there was no threat to anyone on campus and police were unaware of the event until the suspects had left. “[CapAlerts] are issued in the case of immediate threat or danger to the campus community once we are notified,” Kunkle said.
Dr. Saurav Roychoudhury, who has been with the university for 12 years, was personally affected by the incident, as his office was the one that the fire extinguisher was blown into.
“My office was entirely coated in layers of dust (chemicals) emanating from a dry fire extinguisher. It did make a huge mess,” Roychoudhury said. “However, by the afternoon about 80 percent of the mess was cleaned up.”
It seems that since the buildings (Ruff Learning Center, Battelle Hall, and Troutman Hall) are all connected, the suspects moved between and around them.
“It is likely that the suspect or suspects vandalized the basement vending machines of the Learning Center first, destroyed some IT equipment that was out in the open, and may have stolen an iPad from one of the [Ruff Learning Center] offices,” Roychoudhury said.
“When you come up one of the stairwells, my office is the first one on the left and closest to the [fire extinguisher]. I think they had planned to open the door using the fire extinguisher … but ended up discharging it which made the fire alarm start ringing,” he said. “They could not open the door and probably used the space underneath the door to discharge the fire extinguisher.”
Roychoudhury is temporarily working in a different office, but said that he should be back in his own by Thursday at the latest after everything gets cleaned up.
If you have any tips or details about the suspects or the incidents that occurred Monday night, contact Public Safety at (614)-236-6666.