- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 17, 2001

University of Maryland and Prince Georges County officials are scrambling to track down troublemakers who tore up College Park in the wake of the basketball teams Final Four defeat, even though many students dismiss the effort as a joke.
Cpl. Diane Richardson, a Prince Georges County police spokeswoman, said, "I think thats quite to the contrary. We have had several dozen tips come. The response weve had from a number of students over there has been helpful."
But students expect school and county police will have little success using the Internet, the college newspaper and a local cable station to make arrests.
"They didnt make any arrests that night," government and politics major John Shanley, 21, said yesterday. "If they were going to arrest anyone, it should have been that night."
"Youre not going to get everyone who did it," said junior Michael Rabin, 20, a life sciences major. "Whos going to turn in their friends, even for a reward?"
Students took out their disappointment after the March 31 loss to Duke University by setting bonfires, destroying street signs, downing power lines and turning the town into what Mayor Mike Jacobs called a "toilet." One bonfire caused about $500,000 damage to a Comcast fiber optic line that disrupted cable and Internet service to 30,000 customers.
Prince Georges County police and the university have been under fire for a lack of police presence that night. During a recent town meeting, county police Chief John S. Farrell admitted his officers could have done more to prevent some of the damage.
So far, four students have been arrested, either through tips or by turning themselves in. To catch more, photos taken the night of the riot by undercover police have been showing up on the university police Web site, on local cable station 29-B and in the student paper, the Diamondback.
Some suspects have been identified as a result of video footage tips, but investigators have not yet determined whether to charge them, Cpl. Richardson said. Tips leading to an arrest and indictment can earn anonymous callers up to $1,000.
Use of video camera to make arrests in riots is nothing new. In 1999, police in East Lansing, Mich., posted on the Internet video photos of Michigan State University students participating in a post-game melee. The site registered 40,000 hits, and two students surrendered to police when they saw their pictures on the Web site.
Arresting a handful of countless rioters is simply an attempt by the university to appease the people of College Park and show them that officials are tackling the problem, students said. They insist that those arrested likely will get off with a fine.
Morton Ringlear, 19, a sophomore computer science major, considers the photographs a means to intimidate students, to keep them from ever getting out of control after future events.
"The campus police know its all about how students perceive things," Mr. Ringlear said.
His friend Ray Reper, 19, predicts "its all going to blow over" until the next game against Duke, and the next bonfire.
Those arrested so far are Josh Weidman, 22; Jeremy Duncan, 20; Dawn Christensen, 19; and Mark Mansueto, 22.
Each was charged with one count of first-degree malicious burning, a felony, and one count of second-degree malicious burning, a misdemeanor. Mr. Weidman also was charged with two counts of malicious destruction of property over $500, while the other three were each charged with six counts of reckless endangerment, all misdemeanors.
The mostly blurry video footage shows students hoisting mail boxes, mattresses and anything else they could get their hands on. Some faces are blocked by baseball caps, while others are in clear profile.
Forty thumbnail photos appear on the campus police Web site (www.umpd.umd.edu) with the option to enlarge each.
Capt. Don Smith, a campus police spokesman, said the Web site registered 10,000 hits April 6, 7 and 8, the first weekend the photographs appeared.
"Its one of the ways that were trying," Capt. Smith said when asked of the sites effectiveness.
County Council member Thomas Hendershot, whose district includes College Park, said use of the photos is a good idea.
"Yes, the investigation is taking a lot of time, but thats true in a lot of matters," said Mr. Hendershot, New Carrollton Democrat. "Im saddened to learn that young people say its a joke. Hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage was done. People were terrorized and disgrace was brought upon the whole student body."

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