ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK, Colo. – The National Park Service has identified a 21-year-old New York State woman as the primary suspect in recent vandalism incidents at eight iconic parks in the West, including Rocky Mountain National Park and Colorado National Monument.
The Park Service said the suspect is Casey Nocket, who lives in Highland, N.Y., according to public records.
The young woman reportedly outed herself by posting photographs of her rock drawings on Instagram. Word of what she was doing spread and she was soon being blasted on social media.
Park Service spokesman Jeffrey Olson said a hiking blog flagged the vandalism for park officials.
The blogger, ModernHiker.com founder and editor Casey Schreiner, said the woman wrote on Instagram that she used acrylic paint and told someone else, “I know, I’m a bad person.”
In an Oct. 21 blog, Schreiner wrote he learned from a friend’s Facebook post about “a woman named Casey Nocket who had traveled to the west coast from New York for a few weeks. Ms. Nocket had been enjoying her time in the outdoors so much that she decided to document her trip on Instagram. And apparently Nocket was so moved by all the natural beauty she saw that she just had to paint all over it.”
The Instagram account painted on the photos, Creepytings, is no longer available to public viewing.
“National Park Service investigators have confirmed that images were painted on rocks and boulders in Yosemite National Park, Death Valley National Park, and Joshua Tree National Park, all in California; Rocky Mountain National Park and Colorado National Monument, both in Colorado; Crater Lake National Park, in Oregon; Zion National Park and Canyonlands National Park, both in Utah,” Olson said in a news release.
“Investigators continue to collect evidence of the crimes, conduct interviews, and are consulting with the U.S. Attorney’s Office about potential charges. We ask the public to exercise patience and allow due process to take its course as the investigation moves forward,” Olson added.
Vandalism on federal land is Federal Class A misdemeanor that carries a penalty of a $5,000 fine and one year in prison.
“The image in Rocky Mountain National Park was reported to the park and removed in late September before similar images were found in the other national parks,” Olson said. “An image in Yosemite National Park was removed by an unknown person or persons.”
If people visiting these parks come upon these images, they should contact the nearest park ranger with information about the image location, Olson said. Visitors should not attempt to remove the images.