The Collegian
Thursday, December 08, 2022

Vandalism leaves spray-painted cars, defaced dorm

The University of Richmond Police Department expects by the week's end to make arrests in connection with a vandalism spree that targeted the University Forest Apartments, Crenshaw Field and South Court early Saturday morning.

The vandalism left 17 cars with spray-painted streaks and, in at least four cases, images of phallic symbols.

There was nothing to indicate that the incidents were related, but police have compiled names of people of interest, said Police Capt. Beth Simonds.

The vandals targeted cars parked between the 100 and 800 blocks of the apartments, spray-painting phallic symbols or covering license plates with purple or black paint.

Landscaping staffers discovered the damages around 9:55 a.m. Saturday. The vandals also spray-painted brick walls, junction boxes and other university-owned items.

Police found spray cans scattered throughout the area around the apartments. A stairway and rear patio in the 100 block, a screen window in the 1200 block and a patio light in the 800 block were also spray-painted. A grill was also knocked over and damaged.

The vandalism seemed to have been done sometime between 1:30 a.m. and 2:30 a.m., police said.

The police could pursue felony charges against the vandals who targeted the vehicles because of the large number that were damaged. There was no official estimate of the cost of the damage, but police said it was likely thousands of dollars.

At South Court, largely unintelligible phrases were written in marker on a window, including the sentence, "I'm out of here."

"Slut" was scribbled on the brick to the right of the window, and "sex" and "giant" were scrawled on the door next to the window. A facilities staffer began wiping off the words from the window around 2 p.m. Saturday, but the writing on the wall is still visible.

The scoreboard at Crenshaw Field, where the field hockey team practices and plays, was also defaced with spray paint. In an act that may be referencing marijuana, green paint covered the word "Miller" in the name of Mary Jane Miller, Richmond's field hockey coach from 1961 to 1971 and the person to whom the scoreboard is dedicated.

This marking seemed to have been done some time ago, Simonds said.

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One of the victims, junior Garrett Graham, found Saturday morning that vandals had sprayed his car's rear passenger windows with purple paint. He last saw his car around 1 a.m.

Graham said the vandalism to his car was "absolutely pathetic" and didn't see any purpose for it.

Another victim, senior Jessie Nackman, said she was worried about police pulling her over because the vandals had spray-painted over her license plate. She had driven her car to work at 7 a.m. but didn't see the paint then because she usually didn't think to look over her car, she said.

Nackman had not discovered the paint until one of her neighbors saw the damaged cars around 1 p.m. Saturday and advised those who lived on the block to see whether their cars had also been targeted.

She tried to erase the markings with paint thinner, but said this only made the damage worse. Her insurance company will pay the $400 in damages, but Nackman will have to pay the deductible.

Her car will be worked on for two days, which she said was a hassle because she has to drive downtown for a class she has been taking at Virginia Commonwealth University, and has to commute to an EMT class she is taking off campus. In the meantime, she said, she is carpooling with other students.

The car of Nackman's apartmentmate, senior Lindsay Petty, was also damaged with black paint sprayed along the rear end of the vehicle.

Simonds said a court would decide whether the perpetrators would reimburse the damages. Some students were able to remove the paint themselves, she said.

"It's childish, rude, destructive behavior," Petty said.

Collegian reporter Jimmy Young and staff writers David Larter and Dan Petty contributed reporting for this story.

Contact staff writer Kimberly Leonard at kimberly.leonard@richmond.edu

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