Hunter's Tip Leads to Vandalism Arrests
A call from a concerned raccoon hunter led game wardens to Chickahominy Wildlife Management Area in Charles City County late Friday night in time to catch a group of men destroying state property. The hunter called the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries 24-hour Dispatch to report the situation as it was happening.
The four men smashed padlocks and tore down gates blocking restricted areas of the Wildlife Management Area (WMA), then proceeded to tear up the terrain by four-wheeling in three pick-up trucks. Pick up trucks are not permitted off-road on the Department's WMAs; all-terrain vehicles and four-wheeling are not allowed at all.
Game Wardens B.I. Bell and Eric Benninger and Game Warden Lieutenant Randy Hickman got the call at 10:48 p.m. and immediately went to the scene where they observed the group circumventing another gate. They arrested the four men, who were later released on summons.
The men include Charles Wesley Barnes, age 26, of Norfolk; Patrick J. Daly, age 22, of Virginia Beach; Jimmy Dean Maxwell, age 22, of Norfolk; and Kodey Martin Glancy, age 22, of Norfolk. They have been charged with trespassing, destruction of state property, and possession of alcohol on Department-owned lands.
The trespassing charge and the destruction of state property charge are both Class I Misdemeanors punishable by up to 1 year of jail time and a fine of up to $2,500. The alcohol possession charge is a Class III Misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $500. The men are scheduled to appear in the Charles City County General District Court on December 15, 2004.
Said Department Director Bill Woodfin of the incident, "We work hard to maintain our facilities for the public to hunt, fish, boat, and enjoy watching wildlife. The time and money that we end up spending to repair vandalized property cannot then be used to enhance and improve recreational opportunities on our WMAs. When someone damages our property they are hurting all of us."
The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries owns 195,000 acres on 34 Wildlife Management Areas and 225 boat landings across the Commonwealth. Department personnel maintain more than 1,000 miles of road and more than 5,000 informational signs on its property.
To report a wildlife violation, call the Department's Wildlife Crime Line toll-free 1-800-237-5712. A game warden can also be reached by calling your local Sheriff's Office or Police Department.