Local News

Man arrested in state Capitol break-in

Posted December 6, 2009 7:03 a.m. EST
Updated December 7, 2009 9:41 a.m. EST

— A Durham man is accused of breaking a window at the State Capitol building and vandalizing the governor's press office early Sunday.

Douglas Webster McClary, 35, likely had no political motive and simply went "on a Saturday night binge, so to speak," said State Capitol police Chief Scott Hunter.

"There seems to be no indication that any of this break-in or the events had any target or focused on the governor at all. It was just a random act," Hunter said.

Police said they caught McClary, of 410 Englewood Ave., in the second-floor stairwell after alarms went off around 2:30 a.m. He had broken a first-floor window on the west end of the building and climbed inside into the press office, police said.

Items were damaged in what Hunter described as "light vandalism." Decorations by the Raleigh Garden Club were damaged. One Christmas tree was knocked over, and a wreath was ripped from an outside door. A chair was thrown against a window, and all told, six window panes dating from the 1840s were damaged.

Arrest warrants say that McClary also damaged an American flag, water cooler, postcard display rack, fire extinguisher, two signs, wooden bench and flagpole.

"It seems that the damage done in the building, in the different places, that he just made a random trek through the building," Hunter said.

Nothing was stolen, and McClary didn't have any weapons, police said. There was no damage to equipment, such as laptops and phones, in the press office, said the governor's spokeswoman Chrissy Pearson.

Overall, the damage was minor compared to what it could have been, Hunter said.

"Worst-case scenario, some very, very vital things could have been stolen, and also, historical documents that are contained in the Capitol could have been damaged or stolen," the police chief said.

McClary seemed to be intoxicated when he was arrested, Hunter said, but testing is needed to confirm that. He was treated at WakeMed for minor injury sustained when breaking the window.

According to alumni records, McClary is employed at the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University.

He was charged with misdemeanor counts of breaking-and-entering, first-degree trespassing, injury to personal property and injury to real property. He is free after posting a $5,000 secured bond. His first court date is Jan. 20. Hunter said state law doesn't stipulate stiffer charges if such crimes occur at the State Capitol than at other locations.

The Governor's Office and the special Highway Patrol detail that protects the governor were notified of the break-in.

Hunter said that there are break-ins at the State Capitol from time to time, but the alarm system and officers on patrol keep them to a minimum.

"We're glad that the state police officers who are assigned to the downtown area were in position for a quick response, did what they were supposed to do, and that resulted in a successful end," he said.