University of Missouri police quickly zeroed in on Nathaniel J. Conant as a suspect in the vehicular property damage incident Sunday morning at Mizzou Arena after a license plate and cell phone were found at the scene, according to MU athletic director Jim Sterk.
Conant, 23, allegedly drove a Volkswagen Passat through two gates and a garage door located at the arena’s loading dock during a rampage that left skid marks on Norm Stewart Court.
The vehicle’s license plate came off and was lodged in the wreckage from the first gate he rammed on the south end of the arena.
It’s unclear where police found a cell phone belonging to Conant, a Columbia resident who graduated from MU in December with a bachelor’s degree in English.
Conant also was employed temporarily as a utility worker for the SEC Network, pulling cable for broadcasts of events at the arena.
He hadn’t worked an event since February and is no longer a Mizzou employee as of Monday, an athletic department spokesman told The Star.
“I feel sorry for him,” Sterk said. “He just graduated, so something’s not quite right.”
Sterk said there was no significant damage to Norm Stewart Court and the tire marks already have been removed.
“It wasn’t lasting,” he said.
Preliminary repairs to clean up debris around the gates have started, but repairs hadn’t been completed by Thursday evening.
MU police estimate the total damage, which included a few wrecked golf carts, at $100,000.
Sterk learned about the vandalism via an email from Mizzou deputy athletic director and chief financial officer Tim Hickman.
“I don’t know why (Conant did it),” Sterk said. “We were surprised. It’s one of the strangest emails I’ve gotten.”
Conant was contacted by MU police Sunday afternoon and surrendered. He was booked in Boone County Jail on one count of second-degree burglary and four counts of first-degree property damage, which are all felonies.