Vandals strike west of New England


A property owner has suffered vandalism to a house he owns just outside of New England. John Sticka, whose primary residence is in Dickinson, said he came to the house and saw a window smashed out and another with holes.

A window furthest north on the west side of the house is smashed. (Photo by Cole Benz/The Herald)
A window furthest north on the west side of the house is smashed.
(Photo by Cole Benz/The Herald)

By COLE BENZ | Herald Editor |

“Someone used my house for target practice out there,” Sticka said. “And I would like to find out who it is.”

Sticka said the holes look like they could have been made by gunshots, though he said he couldn’t find a slug.

“It looked like about a 22 [caliber],” Sticka said.

The house sits west and north of New England, near the dump ground. The holes were in the windows on the west side of the house, Sticka said.

Sticka thinks the damage could have happened either Saturday, Feb. 27 or Sunday, Feb. 28, and could cost him a few hundred dollars.

Two sets of tire tracks were observed, but nothing pointed to a specific make or model.

A report was filed with the Hettinger County Sheriff’s Department, and a deputy came out to document the damage, but unless there is a witness, Sheriff Sarah Warner said it is hard to investigate these types of incidents.

“Unless somebody really sees somebody out on the property that’s not supposed to be there, and reports it to us, then we really have nothing to go on,” Warner said.

If a case of vandalism is reported, regardless if there is a suspect, the department will increase their patrols to the area of concern.

Warner said the department is investigating another vandalism incident, but early indications are that the two events are unrelated. She said there has not been a typical pattern of vandalism as of late.

Usually these types of incidents end up being cases of people trying to find a good time, which is what Sticka himself speculates is the case with the damage done to his property.

Warner said that property owners should post signs indicating that trespassing is not allowed.

“Without any ‘no trespassing’ signs up, it’s really hard for us to say that they were trespassing on the property,” Warner said.

She also added that installing a game camera would be a good idea too, especially for uninhabited properties. That way when someone enters the property illegally, a vehicle description or even a suspect’s description can be recorded.

Sticka wants anyone with knowledge of the incident at his property to call him at 701-483-4667 or contact the Hettinger County Sheriff’s Department. Warner said if you see something, say something. With limited resources, tips from the community can go a long way in apprehending individuals responsible for illegal activity.

“Otherwise [crimes] do go unsolved,” Warner said. “If somebody sees something, please have them call us.”

The Hettinger County Sheriff’s Department can be contacted at 701-824-2935.


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