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New Milford man accused of vandalizing Bergen County courthouse

Law enforcement officials say a New Milford man waiting for a court appearance on drug charges broke a water pipe on Monday, flooding three floors of the Bergen County Courthouse.

The courthouse was shut down for the rest of the day, according to media reports. Two people, including a judge, slipped and injured themselves inside the soaked building.

Officials also said a large area of the Bergen County prosecutor's office was damaged by the flooding caused, they say, by two kicks to a water pipe by the New Milford man, 27, as he waited to appear in drug court around noon.

A surveillance video shows a man apparently kicking a water pipe near a drinking fountain in a hallway. He then looks down at the pipe and walks away, as water can be seen seeping onto the floor.

The man then walks through the doors for Courtroom 301, where he was apparently to appear before a Superior Court judge.

Water got into an elevator shaft, causing damage to three of the courthouse's four floors. At two in the afternoon, the building was closed for the rest of the day.

The man accused of breaking the pipe was in the building at the time of his arrest.

A Sheriff's Officer viewed the surveillance video and reportedly identified the suspect by his striped pants, according to a media report. Officers then found the man inside the building and arrested him shortly before the courthouse was shut down.

The Bergen County prosecutor said the water caused significant damage to his area of the building, forcing the relocation of some 20 staffers.

The suspect is charged with causing a disturbance that caused widespread injury and criminal mischief.

Source: NorthJersey.com, "Bergen County Courthouse reopens after flooding allegedly caused by defendant," July 10, 2012

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