By Ellen Thompson/Havre Daily Newsemail@example.com
Havre police say they have identified suspects in a rash of car vandalisms that have beset the city.
Beginning Oct. 19, police have received reports of windows being broken out of vehicles, apparently by a BB or pellet gun. Other vehicles were sprayed with blue paint and some had both types of damage.
The majority of the reports came from Highland Park, Police Chief Mike Barthel said today, but some reports have also come from areas throughout the city. There have been more than 30 incidences of vandalism reported to date. The most recent was reported Thursday afternoon.
Donna Reid was nowhere near Highland Park when her vehicle was vandalized. While she was inside a gas station on First Street West buying cold medicine, her vehicle was spray painted blue, she said. The paint was applied in two long lines stretching from end to end on the passenger side of her car.
"It just happened so fast. I just thought, 'Thank God I'd seen it,'" Reid said.
The paint was still wet and on top of a layer of frost when she discovered it, making it easy to remove, she said. Reid said police took a video recording from the gas station for investigation, though she has not heard whether the crime was recorded. Her car was vandalized on Oct. 28.
"I looked in my rearview mirror and the window hasn't ever been clearer," said Timothy Pegar, whose car was vandalized while parked in an alley in Highland Park.
"There was no rock. ... The temperature change wasn't enough. It had to be a small projectile," Pegar said.
The police told him the damage was probably from a pellet gun.
"I've parked it there forever and it's never been harmed," Pegar said.
Since his car was damaged, Pegar has begun parking his car in front of the house, he said. "I definitely watch a lot more" now, he added.
Pegar discovered the damage to his car on Oct. 20.
Ann Louise Diamond moved to Havre in 1998. Since that time, her car has been vandalized twice.
"I used to park my van in the street, and I got in that deal a few years ago where they slashed the tires," she said. "That was in front, and I park in the alley and get my window broken." Diamond's car was parked between Second and Third avenues near downtown when it was vandalized Oct. 24.
Diamond said police told her that hours after her car was damaged, they received many reports of damage from Highland Park.
"Mine probably was the first, and most of them were up in the Highland area, but there's some here too. Maybe it was a trial run," she said.
Diamond did not have insurance to cover the damage and paid $310 to repair it.
"The back window just completely disintegrated," she said.
In addition to her car, her landlord's windshield had a nick from a BB or pellet gun, she said. Windshields are stronger than other windows, explaining the difference in the damage done, she said.
Diamond has held on to her receipt at the advice of the police, just in case the person or people are found. But even if police do find who did the damage, Diamond said, she is not optimistic that she can be repaid.
The Assembly of God church has also had repeated problems with one of its vehicles. Pastor Steve Flatau reported two windows broken out of the church's bus on Oct. 25.
"We've never really worried about it, but things can happen," Flatau said.
One such thing, a number of years ago, was when the bus was stolen. It was later found. Since the bus vandalism, the church has put in security lights and made some other adjustments, Flatau said.