Man accused of vandalizing Fairbanks City Hall

Posted: Tuesday, June 18, 2002

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- A Fairbanks man charged with breaking into City Hall early Monday morning and vandalizing offices said he wanted to talk to the mayor and grew frustrated when he didn't find him, Fairbanks police said.

Kent Tilman, 40, has been charged with felony second-degree burglary and second-degree criminal mischief.

Police said the vandalism occurred sometime after the last employee left Sunday night and before the first city worker showed up for work at 3:30 a.m.

The early employee found the window of a front door broken out. According to the criminal complaint, Tilman told police he broke in with an ax and pick and left the wooden handle there ''because it symbolized truth.''

All pictures of council members and the mayor that hang in the entrance were taken down, carried to the council chambers and, along with the city banner that hangs behind the mayor's desk, were thrown out the second-story window. The items landed in the police department's fenced-in parking area, police said.

The name plates of council members were taken from their seating boxes in the chamber and thrown out the window, police said.

Items were taken from council members' desks and stacked at the end of the desks. The glass doors leading to the city engineer's office were broken, Mayor Steve Thompson said.

Tilman was walking around City Hall when employees were cleaning the mess. He spoke with Jerry Colp, one of the city's engineers. Colp became suspicious of Tilman and called police because Tilman seemed to know a lot about the break-in.

Fairbanks Police Officer Peyton Merideth told Tilman police wanted to question him about the burglary. Merideth said Tilman responded: '''Well, yeah. I broke into there because I wanted to talk to the mayor.'''

Merideth said Tilman made other incriminating statements and agreed to go with the officer to talk to detectives.

''He was mad at the system,'' said Fairbanks Detective Randy Coffey. ''He was mad because nobody was there (at City Hall).''

The vandalism is alarming, especially since the building is located next door to the new police station, Thompson said.

Thompson said he had never received any complaints from Tilman, nor had he ever seen Tilman at a council meeting.

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