RUTLAND — City police say a vandalism spree that damaged more than 100 vehicles, businesses and homes in the city and surrounding communities during the last few days has been brought to an end.
On Thursday night police arrested Jacob Eells, 18, of West Rutland, Cade Bowen, 17, of Castleton, and Cody Vanguilder, 17, of West Rutland, who police say were responsible for the vandalism estimated to have cost tens of thousands of dollars in damage.
“This is the largest act of vandalism in the city that anyone can remember,” Rutland Police Chief James Baker said Friday. “It represents a serious violation of the moral values of the community, and it targeted some of the most vulnerable residents. We will continue to work to ensure that justice is served for those victims.”
The teenagers were charged with multiple counts of unlawful mischief — both felony and misdemeanor counts, according to Rutland Police Sgt. John Sly.
But they won’t appear in court to answer the charges until Feb. 4 as police continue to investigate cases of vandalism that were still being reported Friday morning.
“We’re working on tallying the total amount of damage,” Sly said.
“We need specifics from every victim. It’s going to take some legwork to get estimates and do a final tally. That’s why they were cited into court.”
Through the evidence of an eyewitness, several surveillance cameras and interviews with the teens, some of whom allegedly confessed to the acts, Sly said police were able to build their case.
In one of the videos police have obtained, a white Buick sedan can be seen stopping in front of a business. A shooter then fires at a glass door and the car drives away, Sly said. The Buick is seen in other videos and was identified by the only witness police have found so far, the sergeant said.
With that evidence, Sly said, police were able to find the vehicle’s owner — the father of one of the suspects. City detectives investigated all three teenagers, he said, and obtained a confession from at least one.
Since 3 a.m. Wednesday, when the first complaints of broken windows were phoned in, city police have responded to more than 100 reports of vandalism involving windows shot out with pellet guns, Sly said.
The number of shootings in Rutland Town and West Rutland, where similar vandalism was reported, is still being tallied, Sly said.
“It’s horrendous,” he said. “The number of people adversely impacted by their actions is huge.”
As for the reason for the shootings, there was none, Sly said.
“There was no specific motive given. There was no targeting of specific individuals. As we suspected, it was purely random acts,” he said.
The last report of broken windows due to vandalism was received at the Rutland Police Department at 3:05 p.m. Friday — bringing the number of individual cases of vandalism from the spree in the city alone to 111.
Sly said the cases reported Friday were all believed to have occurred before the teens were arrested.
While the shootings have stopped, Sly predicted that city police would remain busy following up with victims and compiling spreadsheets and reports for the incidents.
“This is going to keep us busy all weekend,” he said.
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