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42 vehicles are damaged in Hagerstown vandalism spree

July 28, 2002|by LAURA ERNDE

laurae@herald-mail.com

Hagerstown City Police on Saturday charged two teenage boys in a West End vandalism spree in which 42 vehicles were damaged.

Police started receiving calls about the vandalism about 2 a.m., Hagerstown City Police Sgt. Dave Long said.

Throughout the night, the vandals randomly hit cars and trucks parked on Salem Avenue, James Street, Winter Street, Church Street and Linganore Avenue, Long said. Many of the residents park their cars on the street rather than in garages or alleys.

In most cases, side-view mirrors were broken. Windows were smashed on several cars.

"It was just very malicious," Long said.

Long could not give a total damage estimate, but he said each incident will probably result in at least $100 in repairs.

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Police were two steps behind the suspects all night until about 6 a.m., when an unidentified resident allegedly caught one of the boys in the act and held him until police arrived. That boy led police to the second suspect, Long said.

The boys, ages 13 and 14, were charged with 42 counts of malicious destruction of property, Long said. Police did not release names because of their age. One of them lives in the West End and the other lives in the North End.

The boys went home with their parents, and the cases will be referred to the Washington County Department of Juvenile Justice.

The boys should receive serious punishment for their actions and not just a slap on the wrist, said Joe Imes, president of West End Against Trouble, Crime and Harassment, a neighborhood crime watch group.

"My biggest fear is if there's no action taken this is going to be a bigger trend," he said.

Susie Caniford, 34, of Church Street, said the boys should be held responsible for the cost of repairs. Her car, a Chevrolet Cavalier, was scratched in the spree.

"If they realize what it takes to maintain a vehicle, they wouldn't do this," he said.

Lena Jenkins, 62, of Winter Street, said the side-view mirror on her Ford Escort station wagon was broken.

"Boy, they must have tore up the place. That's a shame," she said. "I just can't understand why kids that age would be out."

It took seven officers most of the day to interview the victims and file reports about each incident, Long said.

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