vandalism.jpg

FIXING THE DAMAGE — DeLand firefighters lift a concrete plant pot back into place the morning after it was vandalized. Police have arrested Taylor Bonner, 27, pictured in the inset photo, on suspicion of having vandalized planters in Downtown DeLand and on the Stetson University campus.

DeLand police have arrested a man accused of damaging decorative plant pots in Downtown DeLand and on the Stetson University campus.

Taylor Bonner, 27, of DeLand, was arrested Aug. 8 on two charges of criminal mischief, one resulting in $1,000 or more in property damage (a felony) and one for property damage above $200 but below $1,000 (a misdemeanor).

According to a DeLand police report, police observed that several decorative plant pots were damaged in the 100 and 200 blocks of North Woodland Boulevard early Aug. 4.

An officer spoke with the manager of The Boulevard bar, at 208 N. Woodland Blvd., who said he saw an unknown male carrying a skateboard, about 5-foot-10 with short black hair, knock over two plant pots near the bar.

According to the report, the same officer also spoke with a Volusia County sheriff’s deputy, who said he escorted a man matching the same description out of Cafe DaVinci for causing a disturbance earlier in the night.

The deputy said he later saw the same man knock over a plant pot, but that he was unable to stop and confront him as he was on his way to respond to a burglary alarm. DeLand police were able to get an image of the man from the deputy’s body camera, however.

Another officer responded Aug. 5 to a report of vandalism at Stetson University’s Rinker Welcome Center. An official with Stetson Public Safety showed the officer surveillance footage of a man knocking over large plant pots on campus. The man matched the description of the person suspected of vandalizing the Downtown plant pots.

On Aug. 8, according to the report, two DeLand Police Department Special Investigative Unit detectives detained the suspect, later identified as Bonner, at an Advance Auto Parts store location in DeLand.

Detectives spoke with Bonner, who said he didn’t remember anything from the night of the incident because he “got really drunk.”

A detective told Bonner he was investigating incidents that happened after Bonner left Cafe DaVinci. Bonner said he was angry after he left the bar.

“He stated he didn’t know what he could have damaged that night because he was drunk,” the report reads “ ... He asked ‘did I break something?’ Bonner also stated ‘I won't deny it if someone says I did it.’”

The detective pointed out that nobody had asked Bonner about breaking anything before that point.

“Then, [Bonner] was advised that two flower pots along Woodland Boulevard were pushed over and damaged,” the report reads. “Bonner then stated ‘it might have been me.’ After saying that, Bonner put his head down and advised, ‘I pushed one over.’”

Detectives also asked Bonner if he walked through Stetson University to get home that night.

“When asked if he knocked over a couple pots on Stetson property, he stated, ‘I knocked over the pots.’ Then Bonner stated, ‘I don't remember knocking over the pots at Stetson. I do remember walking through Stetson to get home,’” according to the police report. “Bonner stated, ‘I got drunk and did some stupid s***’”

Bonner told deputies that he later saw the damaged pots posted on Facebook, and thought, “aw s***,” according to the report.

He eventually admitted to knocking over the pots in Downtown DeLand and on the Stetson University campus because he was angry, the report says, and he was arrested and taken to the Volusia County Branch Jail.

The City of DeLand estimates the damage to its property at $5,125, while Stetson University told police the damage amounted to about $500.

Bonner was released from jail Aug. 9 on his own recognizance.