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Vandals damage dozens of Havre vehicles


An early morning shooting spree Tuesday damaged dozens of vehicles in Havre, police said.

More than 20 vehicles had windows shot out with a small- caliber weapon, probably a BB or pellet gun, Havre Assistant Police Chief Mike Barthel said Tuesday. The vandals shot vehicles in several neighborhoods, including the east end, downtown Havre, and Highland Park.

"Some victims had more than one vehicle vandalized," he said, adding that one vehicle alone had sustained more than $1,000 in damage.

Police recieved their first call at 5:17 a.m. from a residence on 11th Street. Police continued to receive complaints through Tuesday afternoon, bringing the total to more than 20 vehicles.

The final number likely will be higher, Barthel said, adding that calls "are still trickling in."

Havre resident Tom Renaker was among the first to discover the vandalism. Leaving his home early Tuesday to spend a day in the Bear Paws, Renaker was dismayed to find that windows in two of his vehicles had been shot out.

"They shot a hole in my fifth-wheel," he said, adding that a projectile also shattered a window in his truck.

"It exploded inside and out," he said. "I've never seen anything like it."

The total damage to both vehicles is about $300, Renaker said. The money will come out of his pocket because of a $1,000 insurance deductible on both the truck and the trailer, he added.

"Boy, I hope they catch them," he said.

One victim said this is the second time he's been the victim of vehicle vandalism.

"It happens. There's not much you can do about it," said Mike Hartman, who lost a window on his GMC pickup. "There's no point in getting mad. I just thought the kids in Havre must have nothing to do."

Like Renaker, the $200 repair bill will come from Hartman's pocket.

"If they get caught, there will be hell to pay," he said, adding that he would like to be reimbursed for the cost of repairs.

Even law enforcement was not immune to vandalism. One vehicle targeted by the shooters was a Montana Highway Patrol cruiser parked at the residence of officer Scott Waddell.

Waddell said he discovered the damage about 7 a.m. as he left his house to go to work. One shot had penetrated the windshield and another shattered a rear window. Two other shots punched holes in the driver's side body of the cruiser.

"It's a good thing they weren't a good shot," Waddell said. Otherwise he "would have lost two more windows."

Among the vehicles shot was one belonging to City Judge Joyce Perszyk. She could not be reached for comment today.

Several insurance agents in Havre said they had received claims stemming from the shootings. No damage estimates were available from the agencies.

Police are investigating the shootings, Barthel said. Crimestoppers will offer a reward for information leading to the arrest of those responsible, he added.

Anyone with information about the shootings is encouraged to call Crimestoppers at 265-4444.


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