Daily Egyptian

Student says he is not connected with graffiti despite being person of interest

By Aaron Graff, @Graffintosh

SIU student Wade Stofko says he is one of the five people SIU police are asking the public to help identify in relation to a recent graffiti incident at Faner Hall.

But he has gone to police to proclaim his innocence. 

Stofko, a senior from Joliet studying cinema and photography, was seen carrying a bucket near the rear entrance of Morris Library at 12:07 a.m. April 14, roughly 10 minutes after two pictures of three suspects by the Faner Plaza Foundation were taken.

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SIU Police Chief Benjamin Newman said via Twitter he would only ask for a statement from Stofko. The student gave a statement at the Communications Building on Sunday night after he returned from a field trip.

He said he was told there would probably be a follow-up interview with an investigator, but that it was good that Stofko told police before police had to find him.

MORE: SIU police ask for help identifying these people in Faner graffiti incident | Images of graffiti 

“The bucket seems pretty suspicious,” Stofko told the Daily Egyptian on Saturday. “I was there. I was just going to wash off some of the chalkings that I was doing with skate club to promote our skate contest that was going on that weekend. We had chalked on a few of the walls, which is illegal to do, according to the [registered student organization] conduct book.”

Stofko said he got an email from Heather Brake, SIU’s student involvement coordinator, requesting he take the chalkings down before 7 a.m. April 14.

Stofko showed the police the email from Brake and has witnesses who knew what he was doing beforehand.

He said he did not see anyone participating in graffiti while he was there.

“It was kind of frustrating and upsetting,” Stofko said on Sunday. “I was in Chicago this weekend for a photo class field trip. We met with professionals and it was kind of in the back of my mind. I knew I was innocent obviously, but it was kind of distracting.”

The campus police department launched an investigation after they were notified of the estimated $3,000 in damages, SIU spokeswoman Rae Goldsmith has said.

She said the individual or individuals involved, if discovered, may face criminal charges for the graffiti, which is considered criminal damage to state property.

Messages included “Riot Proof…We’ll See” on the east side of Faner Hall and “You are not a loan? All Money to the administration” on the building’s northwest end.

Another read “Debt rules everything around me, monthly, monthly bills y’all, May 2nd.”

Stofko said he does not plan on participating in the May 2

Anna Spoerre contributed to this story.

Aaron Graff can be reached at [email protected] or at 618-536-3325.

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