University Park car vandals caught

April 20, 2011

by Rebecca Spence, STAFF REPORTER

Tech Police put faces and names to the green and blue car paint last week. Group members who vandalized student vehicles with offensive pictures and words March 25 have been identified.

Tech students Phillip Allen, Jeffery Crabtree, Ashley Temple, Elton Taylor and John Stewart will face the student judicial affairs behavioral standards board in the middle of next week to determine individual disciplines.

Tech Police Chief Randal Hermes and his officers charged Allen and Crabtree with criminal mischief.

“It was a matter of cooperation with the investigation that determined the charging decisions,” Hermes said.

The markings began with a game of tag the group had been playing with friends. The game consists of members writing “tag” on another player’s vehicle when it is spotted at any given time of the day or night. When you are “tagged,” you become the person looking to “tag” another player’s car.

This quelled all investigations accusing the group of targeting specific vehicles or vehicle owners with the crude pictures and words. The members of the group were not associated with any organization on campus.

“We found out that this was not an act of a white supremacy or an organized racial group. It was a game of tag that went too far,” Hermes said.

According to the police report, the vandals only knew a few of the vehicle’s owners on whose cars they wrote. They admitted that what they wrote on each of the cars was random as well.

“They were not targeting any vehicle, group or individual,” Hermes said.

There were 22 vehicles on campus that were specifically identified as part of the scandal and two off-campus complaints about vehicular markings that were taken into the hands of the Ruston Police Department.

“The boys said they did not mean how it sounded,” Hermes said. “It was just poor judgment in pranking, and it was not as funny as they thought it might be. People were seriously offended.”

Tech Police wants to make sure members of the community and student body do not take methods of punishment for these students into their own hands.

“It is considered a criminal offense if they try to,” Hermes said. “This situation needs to stay in the hands of the criminal court.”

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