Posted 11 months ago
By John Axtell
A second incident of vandalism to a beer truck in Whiteclay has a Scottsbluff beer distributors demanding an increased police presence during deliveries. The latest incident Monday involved $8,000 damage to a High Plains Budweiser truck.
High Plains owner Jeff Scheinost says at least six people attacked the truck as it made a delivery to Stateline Liquor…with 3 of his employees inside the store and one outside.
Scheinost says the six jumped out of a car and used sledgehammers to break the truck’s headlights, windshield, and both windows on the drivers side, then used knives to puncture a tire.
The entire incident took less than 2-minutes, allowing the vandals to drive across the state line a few hundred yards away before auxiliary deputies from the Sheridan County Sheriff’s office on the other side of Whiteclay could respond.
The first incident last week involved similar damage to a beer truck from Dietrich Distributing of Scottsbluff, but that driver was threatened at knifepoint.
Scheinost says he’s been told the vandals are young out-of-state American Indian Movement members who are becoming more aggressive in protesting alcohol sales in Whiteclay…where most sales are made to residents of the adjacent but officially alcohol-free Pine Ridge Indian reservation.
Activists have been camping just across the reservation border in South Dakota for some time, a location Scheinost says makes it easy for them to monitor beer deliveries.
“They’ve set up a tipi on the South Dakota or reservation side of the border and that’s where they hang out. They’re watching all the time and don’t even need binoculars to see the trucks.”
Scheinost says while his employees were not threatened Monday, he’s worried about what might happen in the future without more and better police protection.
“I’m worried about the health and safety of my people. Vehicles can be fixed; they’re made out of steel and plastic and fiberglass – we can fix those things. I can’t fix a human being that gets hurt in the line of duty of his job.”
Scheinost says without better protection of his employees when in Whiteclay, arrangements other than local delivery may have to be made to get beer to the stores.