Teen identified, questioned in Sallal Water Tower vandalism, police say additional suspects could be outstanding

The King County Sheriff’s Office said on Monday, November 6, 2018, detectives identified a 14-year old male that was believed to be involved with the trespass and vandalism of the Sallal water tower in North Bend. The vandalism was discovered October 31st.

Damage to the water tower was estimated to be $2,500-$5,000. One of the locks that was cut that accessed the 168,000 gallon tank so Sallal Water put a do not drink order in place until the white pellets found on top of the water tower and the water test could be tested. Detectives were given a photo of a person of interest that was seen leaving the area of the water tower and the pellets were later determined to be biodegradable air soft pellets.

The teen was located and provided a full statement.  According to a KCSO news release, both the juvenile and his parents have been fully cooperative with law enforcement and the investigation.

Detectives determined that while the juvenile may have accessed the water tower numerous times, he may not have acted alone or been responsible for the vandalism at all – and that additional suspects may still be outstanding.

The juvenile provided a two-year timeline as to activities around or near the tower and admitted the tower is a favorite spot for youth to play air soft.  KCSO reported the subject was released to his parents and burglary/trespassing charges will be forwarded to the Juvenile Court for review. 

Detectives were back out at the scene Tuesday, November 6th with water district staff to document the draining and cleaning of the tower.  Several additional evidence items were recovered and are being processed. Over the next few days, the tank will be cleaned, filled and water samples will be tested from several access points.

KCSO said it is not aware of any current risk or additional threats to the residents living in the North Bend area.  Detectives continue to seek information on who may be responsible for the vandalism or what the motive maybe.  If anyone has information they are urged to call the King County Sheriff’s Office at 206/296-3311. 

Sallal hopes to have the damaged tank fully operational by Saturday, November 10th depending on how long it takes to refill and get water retested by the Department of Health. Until that time a Do Not Drink order remains in place for 82 North Bend homes.

Sallal stated that all water sampling done this year was good until this incident. They said water is sampled several times per month according to the association’s Coliform Monitoring Plan approved by the Department of Health.


Empty and sanitized Sallal water storage tank, 11/6/18. PC: Sallal Water Association


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