Pellet gun vandalism continues in Rutland area
By Brent Curtis
STAFF WRITER | January 24,2013
A vandalism spree involving the use of a pellet gun to shatter car windows in the Rutland area continued for a second day with about 30 reports, according to Rutland City Police.
On Wednesday, police in the city fielded complaints from about 75 people — mostly car owners along with about a dozen homeowners and a half dozen business owners — whose windows had been shot out sometime between midnight and 6 a.m. Wednesday.
On Thursday, the damage continued with about 30 reports from residents in Rutland, Center Rutland and West Rutland whose vehicles were vandalized overnight and, in about eight instances, during the day.
“I went inside for about 10 minutes earlier today and when I came out my window was shot out,” Scott LaFrancois said waving his hand around the empty space once occupied by the driver’s side window of his Chevrolet Cavalier.
LaFrancois, whose car was parked in a lot on Meadow Street in the city when the vandalism occurred, didn’t see the shooter but he suspected a dark sport utility vehicle containing a teenaged driver and passenger who laughed as they drove by the scene shortly after.
“They spotted me and I could see the ‘Oh (expletive)’ expressions on their faces,” he said.
But Rutland City Police Sgt. John Sly said police had reason to believe a different vehicle was involved.
“We have some information from a very credible source so it’s looking like the (dark colored SUV) might not be the vehicle we’re looking for,” Sly said.
The sergeant didn’t say what vehicle police believe might have been involved because they are pursuing a lead in search of a specific suspect.
With a tally of vandalism reports within the last 36 hours exceeding 100 cases, Sly said the spree was the worst of its kind in a long time.
“It’s the most expensive and the most widespread we’ve seen in awhile,” he said. “It’s impacted a significant amount of people and I’m not exaggerating when I say the damage is in the tens of thousands of dollars.”
The spree has also been unusual for the acts of vandalism committed during the day when there are more potential witnesses, he said.
If police are able to make an arrest in the case, Sly predicted that dozens of felony charges of unlawful mischief could be forthcoming and he appealed to the public to help find those responsible.
“If a vehicle doesn’t fit in the neighborhood or is passing slowly, please call us right away,” he said. “If you can get a license number that’s great but at a minimum a description of the vehicle and direction of travel phoned into us right away would be a great help.”
Anyone with information about the vandalismsis asked to call Rutland Police at 773-1816.