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ECU vandalism suspect no longer enrolled

By Amanda Brannon
Published On: Oct 22 2012 11:03:13 AM CDT
Updated On: Oct 24 2012 12:48:31 PM CDT

Update: William Banks, the suspect of recent vandalism at East Carolina University's Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium is no longer enrolled at the school, according to university officials.

GREENVILLE - Police in Greenville arrested a man accused of breaking into the football stadium at East Carolina University and doing a number on its turf.

ECU freshman William Banks was arrested by ECU police officers, and now faces charges after investigators believe he and two other unknown suspects broke into Dowdy-Ficklen stadium, took three Kubota Utility Vehicles and vandalized the field and other areas of the stadium.

Lt. Chris Sutton with ECU Police said this happened Sunday morning between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m.

Trash cans, concession stands and two water fountains were damaged in the chaos. You can see photos here of the vandalism.

Track athlete Olivia Sharp said she's shocked a student has been charged in this incident.

"It's pirate nation. It's our home. I don't get why you would want to destroy your own stadium," she said.

At some point during all the mischief, authorities said Banks dropped his cell phone on the football field. They said he returned to the stadium and tried to jump the fence again and look for it. That's when officials began to question Banks. He was later arrested and charged with breaking and entering, first-degree trespassing, injury to personal property and injury to real property.

Head football coach Ruffin McNeill addressed the incident at his weekly press briefing on Monday. McNeill said he hopes the people responsible are prosecuted.

"Why would you destroy our house? Dowdy-Ficklen is precious to me, having played and bled on that. That is unacceptable that somebody would do that to our field...You know how I would handle it — to the fullest extent of the law," McNeill said.

Banks was previously arrested Saturday night for possession of marijuana. Authorities said Banks was arrested under a $1,000 secured bond. He was released on bond and that's when officials believe the suspect started drinking and decided to break into the stadium.

Upon leaving the stadium, officials said Banks then broke into a vehicle in the Gold Lot of Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.  Authorities said the windshield of a 1995 Toyota Corolla was broken and paint was found on the hood and the driver's side of the interior. He was placed under a $5,000 secured bond for this crime.

Banks had previously been in jail under a $20,000 secured bond for the vandalism charges at the stadium.

The investigation is ongoing and authorities are looking for the other two suspects involved in this crime. Officials are currently sifting through surveillance videos and said more arrested are expected soon.

Anyone with information on this crime is asked to call ECU Police.

*Kyle Horan contributed to this report.