Investigators find Bonanzaville incident was accident, not vandalism

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WEST FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) Initial reports of vandalism at a West Fargo historic site actually turned out to be human error, according to Cass County Investigators.

It was determined that more than 200,000 gallons of water poured out of exterior water spigots at Bonanzaville USA in West Fargo from December 24, 2018 to January 6 of this year.

Cass County Sheriff’s investigators found that on average 10 gallons of water per minute gushed from the spigots located on the South Pleasant Church building.

The church had been rented out for an event on Christmas Eve from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The water flowed onto three historic Cass County buildings and froze over into ice.

Volunteers helped break up the ice on January 11 and Bonanzaville previously told us the incident won’t affect their opening date for May 1.

The ice build-up didn’t damage the church or any of the other buildings in the area, however, there was concern that by the spring the water could become an issue.

Although there was one suspect in the case, the Cass County Sheriff’s Department concluded that the evidence is leaning “towards human error and likely not being a deliberate act.”

Law enforcement collected surveillance of the scene and interviews with employees, possible suspects, and volunteers.

The prime suspect was an ex-employee who stopped working at Bonanzaville in October. He told investigators he opened the spigots to drain the water from the water lines in an effort to winterize the building, but he couldn't say whether he left them open.

Law enforcement has since closed its investigation into the incident pending further evidence.

The city of West Fargo said the cost of 201,000 gallons of water being poured out is $1,894, according to the report.