UNION, Mo. – Vandals destroyed papier-mâché creations made by disabled adults and children for their big fundraiser. The suspects even recorded themselves committing the crime.
The heads—called “Noggins”—were created by clients with Ability Developmental Services of Franklin County Inc., which provides evidence-based and effective teaching using positive behavior support and applied behavior analysis.
It took weeks to make the papier-mâché heads; all of the work was destroyed in minutes.
The Union Police Chief Norman Brune said social media recordings caught the vandals. One suspect, 27-year-old Vincent Vitale, was arrested and remains behind bars. Four other suspects, including a 16-year-old, will face property damage charges.
The Union Police Department released video from Snapchat showing the vandals in action Monday evening. From the video, you can see a man repeatedly punch the Noggin and then cut the head off the papier-mâché mannequin.
“He was pretty good at it. He was able to beat up that Noggin and hardly got a scratch on himself. He’s a pretty tough guy,” said Chief Brune.
Artzy Walls set up the Noggins around Union, Missouri for a scavenger hunt fundraiser scheduled for October 20.
The money will help support services for Ability DSFC. Eileen Wade inspired the idea.
“We get to showcase the people from Ability to help make Noggins. They would be rented and someone could purchase the whole body. Every penny goes to Ability,” she said.
In fact, Ability clients worked on the Noggins for at least six weeks. The Noggins were placed in front of businesses and purchased for display. Many were still shocked that anybody would do this.
“Why would somebody do that? They called me and said the rest of the Noggins were damaged or destroyed and it was just like, who does that kind of thing?” said Dennis Kramme.
Nine of the 14 mannequins were damaged or stolen. Police said because the video was posted on social media and turned over to police, the suspects have been identified.
According to Ability DSFC, the vandals did at least $3,000 worth of damage.
Artzy Walls said this will only make them work harder to try and fix the Noggins for their October 20 fundraiser.
If you’d like to donate or assist Ability DSFC, you can contact the organization at 636-583-5801.