University of Missouri

Columbia man allegedly does $100,000 in damage during Mizzou Arena joy ride

Nathaniel J. Conant
Nathaniel J. Conant

A 23-year-old Columbia man, Nathaniel J. Conant, was arrested Sunday after he allegedly went for a joy ride in a Volkswagen Passat on Norm Stewart Court inside Mizzou Arena.

University of Missouri police were dispatched around 7:15 a.m. to investigate a report of property damage.

“Through investigation, we were able to determine that just after 4 a.m. a vehicle was driven through a closed gate on the south side of Mizzou Arena and then went through a garage door in the back dock area,” MUPD spokesman, Maj. Brian Weimer, told The Star.

Several golf carts also were damaged before the driver drove onto the basketball court inside the arena and exited through the same dock entrance.

Unable to get back through the gate the car originally plowed through, the driver smashed through a second gate — “the press gate in the back,” Weimer said — before fleeing the scene.

“The car did make it to the court and back out,” Weimer confirmed.

Conant was identified as the suspect and contacted by MUPD. He subsequently turned himself in and was arrested at 3:55 p.m. Sunday.

After being transferred to Boone County Jail, Conant charged with second-degree burglary and four counts of first-degree property damage.

The burglary is a class D felony, while the property damage is a class E felony.

Conant was released at 7:09 p.m. after posting a $10,500 bond.

Weimer said the estimated damage is $100,000, “but they’re still putting it together,” he said. “Those gates are extremely expensive.”

Conant, who enrolled at Mizzou in 2013 and graduated with a degree in English in December 2016, is listed as an events assistant for the SEC Network on the Mizzou student directory.

A spokesman for the university confirmed that Conant worked as a student employee in athletics prior to graduation and had been hired March 26 as a temporary employee.

Conant was a utility worker, helping wrangle cables for broadcasts, according to a spokesman for the Tigers athletic department, but Conant hadn’t worked an event at Mizzou Arena since February.

As of Monday afternoon, Conant is no longer employed by MU.

No one was believed to be present inside the area at the time of the incident.

Tod Palmer: 816-234-4389, @todpalmer