Crime

Vandals leave bloody trail in Raleigh newspaper offices

A streak of blood is seen on a large city map in the newsroom after an unknown person broke into The News & Observer offices early Sunday morning, vandalizing several offices and leaving a bloody trail in the third floor newsroom.
A streak of blood is seen on a large city map in the newsroom after an unknown person broke into The News & Observer offices early Sunday morning, vandalizing several offices and leaving a bloody trail in the third floor newsroom. cseward@newsobserver.com

An unknown person broke into The News & Observer early Sunday morning, destroying several offices and leaving a bloody trail in the third-floor newsroom.

Raleigh police spent several hours processing the scene before dawn Sunday.

Several computers were thrown through third-floor windows onto the McDowell Street lawn downtown. Files were opened in several administrative offices and tossed outside with the electronics.

“The suspect is on video,” said Publisher Orage Quarles III. “Luckily, there weren't any damage to any humans. That's the best thing. He left a mess and we'll probably increase our security.”

Reporters discovered the damage, Quarles said. Desks were overturned and windows were broken in the room in which editors meet to discuss which stories will run in the daily paper and where they will appear.

Quarles and other N&O staff spent the early hours of Sunday cleaning paperwork off the N&O front lawn. The publisher said that the debris filled a cart. He said it was not apparent that anything in particular had been targeted.

“As drunk as that guy was,” Quarles said, “I couldn’t tell what he was after. I don’t want to guess. I just went down and cleaned up.”

Several bloody smears appeared throughout the newsroom and also on doorknobs, at least one of which appeared to have been hit with a fire extinguisher.

Quarles said The News & Observer had no security guards on duty Saturday night and Sunday morning. He did not know exactly how long the paper had not had nighttime security, but said it had been the case for several months.

Typically, News & Observer employees are in the building around the clock.

The newspaper has had past break-ins with 24-hour security, Quarles said. Sunday morning’s incident likely resulted more from the building’s age than from lack of security.

Police continue to investigate. Calls for more information on the investigation weren’t immediately returned Sunday.

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