UPDATE: Grand jury will review vandalism charges at TV stations, health department
UPDATE POSTED 6:10 P.M. APRIL 14, 2021
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) -Vandalism and other charges against a 37-year-old Lexington man were bound over Thursday to the next Fayette County Grand Jury.
The lawyer representing Derek Nance waived a hearing during arraignment before Fayette District Court Judge Bruce Bell.
Nance is charged with seven vandalisms over several months, including WTVQ ABC 36 News, as well as drug violations.
UPDATE POSTED APRIL 7, 2021
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – A man was arrested and charged Wednesday in connection to vandalism at Lexington’s commercial television stations, including ABC 36, as well as a radio station in mid-February and at the health department and an urgent care center late last year, according to Lexington Police.
According to the Fayette County Detention Center website, 37-year old Derek Nance faces five counts of criminal mischief 3rd degree and two counts of criminal mischief 1st degree along with three drug trafficking charges.
Messages were spray-painted on ABC 36 that said, “free your mind” and “down with fake news.” There was also an envelope taped to the station’s front door that had letters inside promoting conspiracy theories.
The suspect could be seen saluting the station’s security cameras. Police used the surveillance footage to aid in their investigation.
Last December, police say the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department and the Urgent Care center on Nicholasville Road were vandalized with spray paint about the coronavirus.
On multiple parts of the building, Urgent Care employees found spray-painted messages, including “#plandemic,” and “COVID-19 was an inside job” and the URL to a website that pushes COVID-19 conspiracy theories. Police say there was a picture of a wildcat taped to the front door. The photo had the words “eternal vigilance” on it, according to police.
Investigators say some of the same messages were sprayed on the front windows of the health department’s building on Newtown Pike.
Original story below from February 15, 2021:
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – We usually try to stay out of the story but on Monday, we became the story.
Police are investigating after someone vandalized a Lexington radio station and several TV news stations, including ours.
“It was just kind of a spooky feeling that early in the morning to see something like that,” Edwards said.
For Account Executive Brett Edwards, ABC 36 isn’t just a workplace, it’s family. His wife is morning meteorologist Alyssa Andrews.
As Edwards was leaving the station early Monday morning, he noticed something very wrong on the front of our building.
“Certainly hits a lot closer to home when you have friends and family members that work here at the station,” Edwards said.
Messages spray-painted on the building saying ‘free your mind’ and ‘down with fake news’, as well as an envelope holding letters promoting conspiracy theories taped to the front door.
ABC 36 General Manager Chris Aldridge said it has employees feeling down.
“It’s really very unfortunate and very disappointing. We do everything we can to be very fair and balanced in the way we report the news, as do the other local tv stations,” Aldridge said.
Security cameras did capture the man who did this. He even saluted the cameras. Police say they’re working to find them.