Man gets jail, $52k bill for vandalizing Ferndale police station (w/video)

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDMarch 6, 2014 

Security cameras caught Darrell Ryan Stacey, 22, of Ferndale, breaking into and vandalizing the Ferndale police station early Dec. 22, 2013. Stacey has since pleaded guilty to first-degree malicious mischief and second-degree burglary. Under the terms of his plea, Stacey agreed to repay more than $52,000 for repairs.

THE BELLINGHAM HERALD

FERNDALE - Three months of jail time and a $52,000 repair bill await a vandal who shattered windows and glass doors at the Ferndale police station in December.

Security footage released this week by the Ferndale Police Department shows a man in a checkered purple hoodie, identified as Darrell Ryan Stacey, 22, wobbling as he urinates on the front door of the newly built station, 2220 Main St., in the morning hours of Dec. 22.

Afterward he throws two cans of Coors Light at the door - fastballs, but not hard enough to break the large panes of glass - before ripping up several hefty metal light posts cemented into the walkway outside. He uses one of the posts to batter his way through the double-door gateway to the main lobby.

Police weren't alerted because the station, finished in 2012 at a cost of about $5.2 million, had no alarms in the entryway. And the one Ferndale officer on duty was booking a man into jail, in Bellingham, while Stacey crawled through a broken window at 4:57 a.m.

It took about 13 minutes for Stacey to inflict $52,300 in damage inside. He heaved the light post at the three custom-made, bulletproof glass windows that protect the receptionist's desk. But he couldn't break them. He couldn't get through a locked door at the far end of lobby, either. So he returned to the entrance to demolish the glass doors of the anteroom.

Police didn't learn of the break-in until 8 a.m., according to charging papers.

Detectives combed through security footage but couldn't find a clear enough picture of the vandal's face.

But police recalled they had broken up a party in Ferndale just before the break-in. Stacey had been at the party, and a check of his Facebook page showed he owned the same checkered hoodie as the young man in the security footage, according to the charges.

Police suspected Stacey trashed the station out of "revenge or fall-out" from the party, wrote Deputy Prosecutor Jeffrey Sawyer.

Confronted with the Facebook photo, Stacey confessed. He'd been drunk, he said, but he remembered breaking in, according to the charges.

City officials have since discussed boosting security for the lobby, possibly with a roll-down door for nighttime or, less likely, a new alarm system.

"We're going to look at fortifying that room," Police Chief Michael Knapp said at a Ferndale City Council retreat in January. "It's just something that we have to do."

As of this week, however, the front doors of the station remain boarded up with plywood. A sign tells visitors to walk around to the back-door entrance. The glass at the reception desk still has the same cracks.

Stacey, who had no felony history, pleaded guilty Monday, March 3, to malicious mischief in the first degree and to burglary in the second degree. He must undergo a year of alcohol treatment, pay back thousands of dollars for repairs and stay 300 feet from the scene of the crime.

Last year, Stacey lived in an apartment about a block from the station. He's in jail now.

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