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Subject charged in campus vandalism incidents


BLACKSBURG, Va., Oct. 2, 2009 – Virginia Tech Police have charged Samuel Adams Purtell, of 401 Green Street, Apt. 10, Blacksburg, with 4 counts of Section 18.2-137 of the Code of Virginia (Injuring, etc., any property, monument, etc.)

Since mid-August, Virginia Tech Police have received multiple reports of vandalism, in which graffiti was found in bathroom across campus. These have included incidents in McComas Hall on Aug. 13; McBryde Hall on Aug. 17; Johnston Student Center on Sept. 21; Engel Hall on Sept. 23; Major Williams Hall on Sept. 23; and Johnston Student Center on Sept. 25. These incidents involved graffiti that generally included racial slurs, swastika symbols, apparent references to Seung-Hui Cho and Adolf Hitler, and references to “White Pride”;

In late September, Virginia Tech police detectives identified a possible suspect (Purtell) and conducted surveillance to determine Purtell’s involvement. On Sept. 25, Officers observed Purtell enter the restroom in the Johnston Student Center, and then observed vandalism in that restroom. Purtell was confronted at the scene.

On the late afternoon of Sept. 25, a search warrant was executed at Purtell’s residence. Officers found and seized documents that contained drawings and writings that appeared consistent with evidence observed from various incidents of vandalism.

Investigation continues and additional charges may be forthcoming. Purtell has been banned from campus and has been at an off-campus location since Sept. 25.

Note: The charges filed in this case are merely accusations. The defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.