On March 14 at approximately 6:07 AM, Newport Police Officers were in the lower level of City Hall and heard the fire alarm sound. Officers checked the City Hall main floor and noticed the smell of cigarette smoke. Upon checking further, officers found a person, later identified as Nicole Carson, a Tidewater resident, standing at the front door of City Hall. Carson was holding the exterior door open and was smoking a cigarette. When Carson saw the officers, she ran from the area.
Officers checked the remainder of City Hall and found several items damaged, including a wooden sculpture, a bench, tile floor, dishes, furniture, a screen and books. Officers located a heavy smoke smell and found evidence of burnt items in the employees break room. Officers also discovered many damaged items that had been thrown through a break-room window.
Newport Fire Department arrived to assist officers some of whom were leaving City Hall to track down Carson. She was found a few blocks away and detained. Carson admitted to entering City Hall by using a random number, “out of the blue,” on an entry-way keypad at the main entrance to City Hall. She said she typed in a very, very EASY code sequence. The code sequence opened the locked door. She admitted that she went into City Hall where she started damaging items and lighting other things on fire.
Carson further admitted to pulling the fire alarm at City Hall and fleeing when she saw officers.
Carson was taken into custody and lodged at the Lincoln County Jail for Burglary 2ndDegree, Disorderly Conduct, Reckless Burning, and Criminal Mischief 1st Degree.
City Manager Spencer Nebel says entry to City Hall will be unchanged during regular work days, but there will be far more complicated entry numbers and procedures in order to unlock a number of outside entry doors during weekends, holidays and off hours.