Police Blotter

Campus police investigate the case of four broken tables in Marilyn Karlgaard Tower

Lea Kopke

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The following information was obtained from UW-Eau Claire Police Department records.

DIY Skateboard Ramp Destroys Table

At 11:34 a.m. on Oct. 8, campus police received a phone call from a university employee stating that, over the previous weekend, four tables had been damaged in Marilyn Karlgaard Tower. The tables, which were temporary furniture installed in the kitchenette lobbies, had been located on the 6th, 7th, 8th and 10th floors.

The employee, along with a Towers Resident Assistant, stated the folding tables had been damaged beginning in the evening of Friday, Oct. 5 and continued through approximately 2:30 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 8.

The 7th and 8th floor tables had been damaged at around 7:30 to 8 p.m. on Oct 5. The university employee showed the officer a video of a male attempting to ride a skateboard over the table. The table had legs folded on one end and extended on the other, creating a ramp. In the video the subject attempted to ride his skateboard over the table top, but instead fell off the skateboard and onto it. The force of his body weight caused the extended table legs to break away from the tabletop. The event had occurred in the hallway on the eighth floor with a crowd of approximately 10 to 15 people watching.

The video was found posted on an account on Instagram. A Towers RA stated the account had been public but was made private at some point earlier in the day. The university employee told the officer she was unsure if the subject featured in the video was also responsible for damaging the tables on the other floors.

At 12:15 p.m. on Oct 9., the officer met with the subject at the police department. The officer informed him that he was not under arrest and was free to leave at any time.

The officer showed the subject the video of a male subject skateboarding in a hallway. The subject admitted to being the person in the video and stated it had occurred around 7 to 8 p.m. on Oct 5. When asked why the subject tried to ride a skateboard over the table, he responded there was some peer pressure involved but that he had also wanted to do it. The subject declined to name the other people in the hallway.

The officer explained to the subject the damage that had occurred to the table. The subject told the officer he had fixed the table after landing on it by reattaching the bracket legs to the underside of the tabletop and using duct tape to secure them. The subject stated that after his repairs, he believed the table was “fine, good, back to normal and functional.”

The officer told the subject he was looking for the names of others involved in the table damage over the weekend, but the subject declined to name anyone involved. The officer then told the subject he was going to issue him two citations for his actions.

The officer issued the subject a vandalism citation with a fine amount of $263.50 for breaking the table and a prohibited play vehicles citation with a fine amount of $200.50 for skateboarding in a residence hallway.

Towers Table Takedown

At about 4:56 p.m. on Oct 8., the same officer received an email from the university employee that contained a video file documenting the breaking of a table in Marilyn Karlgaard Towers Hall. In it, a male wearing a USA hockey jersey jumped from a chair onto a table that had been set up. When he landed upon the tabletop, it cracked and split near the center from the force of his weight. A group of people then ran down the hallway from the kitchenette into a neighboring room. From the footage, the room number was able to be identified, but the university employee was unable to identify the male.

At 11 a.m. the officer met with the student who had filmed the video of the table being broken. The student explained he was in his dorm room with friends when they heard a loud noise and went in the hallway to investigate it. He observed a subject in a hockey jersey standing next to a table, which already appeared to be broken. The student stated the table was propped up on a chair. The subject then stated something along the lines of “I don’t even go to this school” and then jumped onto the table and broke it. The student stated he then “freaked out” and ran back into his room with friends.

The student told the officer he did not know the identity of the subject involved in the damage, but thought he was staying with a person on the seventh floor of Towers. With the help of the university employee, the officer found the identity of the hall resident who had signed the alleged subject at fault into the building. After working with the aforementioned resident and a Resident Assistant, the police received confirmation that the subject was indeed the person at fault.

At 2 p.m. on Oct. 15 the officer met with the subject at the campus police department. He informed the subject that he was not under arrest and was free to leave at any time.

The officer asked the subject if he knew why he wanted to meet with him, The subject responded it was because he had jumped on a table and broken it. The officer explained that was the reason why and then asked the subject what his motivations were for jumping on the table. The subject revealed he had been offered $20 to do so and had consumed alcohol prior to the event.

The subject stated he had broken the table at some point late in the night on Oct. 5 or early morning on Oct. 6. He told the officer he had only broken one of the tables in Towers. When asked if he had been injured by the force of his body weight breaking the table, the subject responded he had received some bruising from it.

The officer spoke with the subject about the enforcement options he faced for breaking the table. After completing the Eau Claire County Law Enforcement Proxy Form, the officer determined the subject to be eligible for completing the Eau Claire County Diversion Program. This was in part based upon the subject’s cooperation. The officer answered the subjects questions and gave him a copy of the diversion agreement form.

As of Oct. 17 the campus police department has no further leads regarding the identify of the person(s) who destroyed the other two tables.

Kopke can be reached at [email protected]