When you look at this picture, the first thing that comes to mind is probably not a two-year probation sentence and 200 hours of community service. Yet that's exactly what 23-year-old Casey Nocket got after she pleaded guilty to defacing several National Parks.
Using the handle creepytings, Nocket painted on rocks in the parks over a course of 26 days. On Sept. 13, 2014, for instance, Nocket used a Sharpie at the Colorado National Monument to draw her signature "smoking woman" picture on a rock formation. Only two days later, she was photographed at Canyonlands National Park doing the same thing.
Nocket continued across the nation, posting photos on her Tumblr and Instagram, which have now been removed. The parks she visited and painted include Yosemite National Park, Death Valley National Park at the Telescope Peak Canyon Trail, Rocky Mountain National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Zion National Park in Utah and Crater Lake National Park in Oregon.
The internet ”” especially Reddit ”” did not take a liking to the rock art. The word was spread about her vandalism, and a number of investigators started on the case, including Steve Yu, who wrote:
"My name is Steve Yu and I'm an investigator in Yosemite National Park. Thanks so much for bringing this to our attention. I'm not sure about the best way to go about this as this is my first case I've worked off of Reddit, but if folks can send what they've grabbed to my email, that would be great."
Along with the rest of Reddit, Yu found Nocket by following her posts on social media. Casey Schreiner of Modern Hiker also took to the case, and in June, Nocket was sentenced. "The American national parks are really, really special," Schreiner said. "And people have very strong attachment to these places. For a lot of people, visiting these parks has a very deep impact on who you become as a person."
In an Instagram post that has since been deleted, one of Nocket's followers asked if she knew that what she was doing was destructive. Nocket responded, "I know, I'm a bad person." She knowingly used acrylic paint and Sharpies, which is especially difficult to clean off the rocks in comparison to other materials.
Needless to say, Nocket did not exactly follow the Leave No Trace initiative. Along with probation and community service hours, Nocket must make a formal apology to the National Park Service. She has also been banned from entering federal, state, and municipal parkland ”” which means she's banned from about 20% of the United States. Well, there's always 80% of the U.S. left.
"I'm just thankful for the original post on Reddit that got this ball rolling," said Rebecca Sowards-Emmerd, one of the sleuths who helped crack the case. "That said, if it hadn't been posted, I doubt it would be much longer before she was caught. Signing her vandalism with an Instagram account name was not the brightest idea, right?" Maybe when Nocket's 200 hours of community service are up, she can take her talents to a canvas, where paintings usually belong.