Penn State student jailed after reported vandalism, evacuation at campus dormitory

Centre Daily Times, file

A Penn State student was arrested and jailed Saturday after university police said he admitted causing substantial damage to Hiester Hall.

The entire residence hall — which houses about 250 students — evacuated about 4:10 a.m. Saturday because of a fire alarm. One fire extinguisher was found on the ground, a second was found on the roof and a third was thrown from the eighth floor onto the sidewalk in front of the main entrance, according to the criminal complaint filed by Penn State police.

Police reviewed video from the incident and determined Zachary Blume, 20, of Connecticut, concealed one of the extinguishers in a pillow case, according to police.

Five large windows were broken, an exit sign was ripped from the ceiling, metal heating elements were ripped from a stove top and blood was smeared on the walls and a stove top at the dormitory, police said. A university maintenance manager said the damage to the eighth floor exceeded $5,000, according to police.

Blume made a “spontaneous” statement about damaging property and provided a written admission when police interviewed him at his residence, according to the complaint. Police didn’t immediately confirm whether drugs or alcohol may have been a factor in the incident.

Blume was charged with one felony count each of criminal mischief, institutional vandalism and risking catastrophe. He also was charged with seven misdemeanors and one summary.

He was arraigned Saturday by District Judge Kelley Gillette-Walker, who set bail at $50,000. Blume did not post bail and is detained at the Centre County Correctional Facility.

His preliminary hearing is scheduled for April 17.

Bret Pallotto primarily reports on courts and crime for the Centre Daily Times. He grew up in Lewistown and graduated from Lock Haven University.