The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation has joined WCU Police in the Nov. 14 Shining Rock arson investigation.
The WCU Police Department received reports of a fire in Shining Rock Residence Hall Tuesday Nov. 14. Smoke was traced to two trash cans burning in a communal bathroom.
This marks the third case of suspected arson within three weeks. All three cases were reported in Shining Rock.
The WCU Police Department also received reports of arson in Shining Rock Oct. 25 and Nov. 6. The perpetrator in the Nov. 6 investigation remains free after the search concluded due to exhausted leads.
“WCU is a close-knit community,” WCU Chief of Police Steve Lillard said, “with that being said, any incidents that impact our students in a negative way should be taken seriously by all members of our campus. Everyone associated with WCU should have a desire to see these incidents end so that our students can continue to work toward their academic goals without interruption.”
WCU currently offers a $1000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons responsible for the incident. The reward will be added to the student’s account balance and must be used for educational purposes. WCU reserves the right to publicize the informant’s name as permitted by North Carolina law.
“We have been in constant contact with members of our community developing awareness messaging as well as soliciting information that may help with the investigation. These events are a priority to WCU Police, and we continue to encourage anyone with any information to come forward so that we can prevent future incidents,” Lillard said.
Jeb Nelson is a student that lives in Shining Rock. He believes the arson is a bad reflection of the entire freshman class.
“I believe the arson was very irresponsible and childish. It reflects poorly on the freshman class and makes it look bad as a whole,” Nelson said. “We need to start acting like mature college students and start focusing on other things like our education.”
No suspects have been identified in the Oct. 25 or Nov. 14 cases. WCU Police urge anyone with information to step forward. Reports can be made to the WCU Police Department non-emergency number, (828) 227-7301.