Crime

Police offer reward for First Night vandalism info

People look at the ice sculptures as they walk along South Allen Street on Thursday. Police are offering a reward for information leading to the vandals who destroyed several sculptures.
People look at the ice sculptures as they walk along South Allen Street on Thursday. Police are offering a reward for information leading to the vandals who destroyed several sculptures. CDT photo

State College police are offering a $500 reward to anyone with information that leads to the arrest of an individual or group of people responsible for vandalizing several ice sculptures this week in downtown State College.

The sculptures were part of a display during First Night State College, a family-friendly, alcohol-free event that celebrates the new year.

Chief Tom King said police reviewed video footage Friday, but have not concluded anything for certain.

He added that the smashing of some of the sculptures was done by the First Night cleanup crew, including the damage to the wishing well sculpture on South Allen Street, which was broken to retrieve the money that was donated.

“It appears from video (footage) that about 9:30 (a.m.) New Year’s Day, organizers associated with the event are breaking it apart,” King said.

Investigators will continue to review footage to determine what was intentional, King said.

“There was a lot of damage” done by vandals, he said.

If identified, King said, those people would be charged accordingly — likely with criminal mischief.

There was no initial investigation until police were informed by the media about the damaged sculptures.

“There hadn’t been an investigation up to the point you came in,” King told a CDT reporter. “As soon as we became aware of the situation, an investigation was underway.”

King said it’s not uncommon to find the sculptures smashed after the event each year, but it is rare for police to identify those responsible.

In the future, the department will collaborate with the university and community to prevent similar incidents from happening, King said.

That would include adding security downtown, using student security, installing temporary cameras and asking the public to report any mischief.

But there doesn’t always need to be a civilian report for police to begin an investigation. If police see something while on duty, the officers will spark an investigation, King said.

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