University offers reward for help identifying vandal

Assistant Vice President for Facilities Administration and Planning Michael Gautney said the damage incurred by vandals at the new science building construction site could cost up to $50,000.

Police are seeking the public’s help to identify the person responsible for spray paint damage to the new science building and equipment at the construction site, officials said.

The university released a statement Wednesday, Aug. 27 saying it would reward anyone who provides information leading to an arrest up to $1,000.

“This reward is to encourage anyone who might have information or might have seen something to come forward and contact UNA Police Department,” said Vice President of Student Affairs David Shields. “This information could be very helpful in finding those responsible for the damage.”

UNA Police Chief Bob Pastula said the crime was reported Tuesday, Aug. 26.

The culprit painted the construction contractors’ equipment, a nearby overpass and the inside and outside of the science building, said Assistant Vice President for Facilities Administration and Planning Michael Gautney.

If the paint can be removed, damages are expected to cost about $5,000 to $8,000, Gautney said.

He said if the painted areas and construction equipment could not be cleaned, the cost could sky rocket.

“The estimate (the university) gave was $50,000,” he said. “We haven’t had it reviewed yet to get an official estimate.”

Any costs associated with removal or replacement of items and equipment will be absorbed by the contractor, B.L. Harbert, he said.

Gautney said the damage should not affect the opening of the new building.

Construction on the building should be completed by Feb. 2, and some departments will begin from Floyd Hall to the new facility in the spring.

The vandalism included the phrase “In God We Trust,” as well as a skull and expletives, Gautney said, adding there were no sings the graffiti is gang-related.

“Some graffiti has artistic style,” Gautney said. “This looked like someone was just trying to do stick art.”

Pastula said UNA does not see this kind of crime often and the perpetrator will face charges of criminal mischief.

If the vandal is a student, “They’ll have to go through Student Conduct for it,” he said. “They would also be charged criminally for it.”

Sophomore Brandy Loggins said the vandals should either have to clean the paint themselves or pay to have it fixed.

“You should always be responsible for the repercussions of your actions,” she said.