News From Terre Haute, Indiana

August 23, 2013

Authorities seek help with vandalism case

Windows shot out of 87 vehicles last spring

The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Investigators hope that tips from the public can help solve a five-day crime spree in which windows were shot out in 87 vehicles within the city.

Detective Brad Rumsey of the Terre Haute Police Department said investigators have recovered a high-powered, handgun-style BB gun and ammunition they believe were used in the vandalism. However, information is needed to connect suspects to the incidents, which were reported all over the city in the early morning hours between May 9 and May 13.

Rumsey estimated damage to the 87 vehicles at $40,000 to $50,000. Many of the vehicles were older, he noted, so the owners carried only liability insurance, meaning that the damage to personal vehicles was not covered by insurance.

Initially, police received a few dozen reports of vehicle damage between Center and Ninth streets south of College Street. But as reports came in, police realized that the nighttime shootings were occurring all over the city. About one-third of the incidents occurred north of Wabash Avenue, Rumsey said, with damage in an area extending from Maple Avenue to Washington Street, and from Center to 25th streets.

All of the vehicles were parked curbside, he said.

Police set up surveillance at the time, and on May 17 they were able to locate a truck that contained a suspect weapon and ammunition. Rumsey said police questioned the owner of the vehicle, who indicated that other people had borrowed the truck.

Rumsey said that he does not have enough information to make an arrest in the case, but he hopes that the public can add information that will help.

“For the most part, people see things and they don’t realize that what they saw is important,” the detective said. “I am hoping that someone may call police to advise of any suspicious activity between May 5 and 14 that may have seemed insignificant at the time, but could be exactly what is needed now to jump start further investigation.”

Tips can be reported to THPD at 812-238-1661, extension 2667.