Vehicles damaged in vandalism spree

August 12, 2003|by GREGORY T. SIMMONS

Jim Niessner said it wasn't until Hagerstown City Police came to his door Sunday morning that he was aware his pickup truck had been one of the targets of a vandalism spree.

"Of course, your first reaction's, 'What did I do?'" said Niessner, 37, of 522 Pangborn Blvd.

Niessner found that the rear window on his Chevy pickup had been smashed and found a small rock inside his cab.

"I'm just tooling around in it with plastic in the back," he said.

Niessner was one of dozens of Hagerstown residents who learned Sunday morning that their cars and trucks had been vandalized, many with rocks tossed through their windows. In other cases, vehicles had been keyed, police said.


Hagerstown City Police Lt. Rick Johnson said police counted 29 acts of vandalism that appeared to be related. The reports started coming in Sunday morning and continued through the afternoon.

"We go through, it seems like, periods where we don't have much of anything. This was much more like a spree," Johnson said.

"It's crazy. I wouldn't think that this would happen in the neighborhood that we live in," said Candy Suarez, 34, of 1024 View St.

Suarez's Ford Taurus had been parked in front of her house Saturday night.

Suarez's husband left the house at 5:30 a.m. Sunday to go to work. While he was driving, he heard broken glass rattling in the back seat.

By Monday afternoon, Suarez had replaced the window, but it cost $1,700 because of specialized wiring in the window. And with a $1,000 insurance deductible, the vandalism spree also left her with a dent in her pocketbook.

"It's sad because they'll probably never catch them," Suarez said. "It's very expensive for kids or whoever to be going up and down the street, to think it's fun to do it."

The streets where the vandalism occurred include Mount Aetna Road, Kenwood Drive, Beechwood Drive, Forest Drive, Pangborn Boulevard, Fairview Road, Sunnyside Drive, Woodland Way, Columbia Avenue, View Street, West Magnolia Avenue, The Terrace, Kenly Avenue, St. Clair Street, McKee Avenue, Cedarwood Avenue, Outer Drive, Highland Way, Maryland Avenue and North Mulberry Street, police said.

Johnson said in this type of vandalism, there usually is more than one person involved, and people tend to talk about it. He said that helps police catch the culprits.

Irene Pryor, 78, was one of three victims on Woodland Way. Her Dodge Diplomat had been a target.

"One hole was about the size, I'd say a 2-inch hole," Pryor said. Another hole was about 1 foot wide and 6 inches high, she said.

She said she thought the people responsible should be caught and punished.

"It's a serious offense," Prior said. "I'm 78, I don't need this."

Fred Delazio, of 109 N. Mulberry St., said he was outraged to find scratches on his 1998 Oldsmobile Elite. Delazio said his car was vandalized two days in a row over the weekend.

"I was (angry) - What do you say," Delazio said. "The whole door has to be repainted."

"It's terrible what's going on in this town," he said later.

Staff writer Brian Shappell contributed to this story.

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