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Two teens charged with vandalism in Mt. Juliet
Jan 30, 2007 12:00 am
A Mt. Juliet High School student and a 2006 graduate of the same school were charged and booked by Mt. Juliet police Thursday for last weekend's vandalism spree involving 65 vehicles and six residences inside the city limits.
Two more individuals are being questioned in connection with the case and their arrests are pending, Mt. Juliet Police Chief Ted Floyd said at a special called press conference at Mt. Juliet City Hall yesterday.
Mt. Juliet High School student Christopher Jones, 18, and Cassidy J. Baird, 19, a Mt. Juliet High School graduate and current Austin Peay State University student were charged with one felony count of vandalism over $500 and further indictments for the pair for remaining counts of vandalism will follow in the March term of the Wilson County Grand Jury.
Floyd said the other two suspects are also Mt. Juliet residents and are about the same age as Jones and Baird.
Floyd said the two charged suspects told detectives the spree that left approximately 100 SUV's and vans – 65 in the city limits and the rest in the county near Mt. Juliet – damaged from marbles shot from sling shots started out as a "prank, but got out of hand."
"We feel these four are the only suspects," Floyd said. "We have a strong case. It shocks me that what is estimated to be up to $100,000 in damage done by these suspects is considered just a prank."
According to the chief, the suspects damaged a handful of the 65 vehicles two weekends ago, but the majority of the damage happened in the predawn hours this past Sunday. Floyd said the suspects targeted vans and SUV's because the design of these vehicles made it easier to shoot out the windows. Most of the cars' windows were shot out by marbles shot from what Floyd described as a "very sophisticated sling shots."
Floyd said there was a tip in the case and the department will pay a $500 reward. Mt. Juliet Det. Sgt. Greg Graves was the lead investigator on the case.
"Through aggressive investigation and a lot of hard work, this case was solved in a short period of time," Floyd said. "Det. Graves has done a tremendous job solving this so quickly."
Lt. Det. Gwin King said there was excellent cooperation between the Mt. Juliet Criminal Investigations Division and the Wilson County Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigations Division. Police said the Sheriff's Department will pursue charges as well.
The suspects toured the county predawn Sunday, vandalizing cars in at least six Mt. Juliet and area subdivisions from Willoughby Station to Belinda City.
Mt. Juliet City Manager Rob Shearer noted people who owned the damaged vehicles have reported damages ranging from $600 to $1,200.
"This was way beyond just a prank," he said. "It is high value destruction of property. And, the distract attorney fully expects the case will be prosecuted and the suspects will face serious consequences."
Floyd said most likely the suspects if found guilty will get "five to six years probation" and will be ordered to pay restitution. Floyd said he was "disgusted" at the crimes.
"What makes it even worse is that they were local," Floyd said. "To believe people would do this to people in their own community is unbelievable."
Deputy Chief James Hambrick concluded the press conference by noting how proud he was of the detectives who worked the case.
"This was a terrible thing," he said. "And a huge amount of damage. The only good thing that will come out of it is that other young people will know the consequences of such actions."
Mt. Juliet Managing Editor Laurie Everett can be reached at 754-6397 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org