DATE: Tuesday, February 07, 2017
SUBJECT: Sheriff’s Office Apprehends West Side Wet Bandits
RELEASE NUMBER: 2017-NR-015
CONTACT: Lt. Noah Robinson
AUTHORITY: Sheriff Dave Wedding
The Sheriff’s Office has caught a group of juveniles red-handed after observing them throw a water bottle at a moving motor vehicle. Dozens of victims are believed to have had their vehicles damaged as a result of the group’s activities over the past couple of weekends.
On Saturday, February 04, 2017 at approximately 6:57PM the Sheriff’s Office responded to the area of N. Red Bank Road and Upper Mount Vernon Rd upon report of criminal mischief. Victims reported that their vehicles had been struck with unknown objects. The owner of a passenger car described how the side mirror of his car “exploded” after another vehicle passed him on Upper Mount Vernon Road.
A deputy checking the area noticed liquid in the roadway. While traveling on Upper Mount Vernon Road, the deputy then observed a water bottle being thrown out of a passing SUV. The water bottle struck a vehicle in front of the deputy’s car and then struck the patrol car as well. The deputy turned around, stopped the SUV and made contact with the occupants.
Five juveniles were inside the vehicle along with an open case of water bottles. After speaking with the juveniles, deputies found out that another car load of juveniles in the area was also involved. Deputies located the second group of juveniles and learned that some had vandalized cars on previous nights. The vehicles were both equipped with CB radios for communication, with one vehicle sometimes functioning as a look-out for the other.
During the investigation other victims came forward, including one man whose vehicle mirror and fender were damaged as well as another man whose truck side mirror was completely destroyed.
The juveniles explained how the vandalism escalated over a period of a couple of weekends. The juveniles began throwing single use coffee creamer at passing cars before stepping up to water bottles. The investigation is ongoing and additional juveniles are being interviewed about their involvement. Due to the suspects all being under the age of eighteen, the juvenile division of Vanderburgh County Superior Court has jurisdiction over the case.
Sheriff Dave Wedding stated, “Throwing a sealed water bottle from a moving vehicle represents a serious threat to other motorists.” Sheriff Wedding added, “A one pound object can do considerable damage, especially if a vehicle traveling in the opposite direction is struck.”
The Sheriff’s Office recommends that parents speak with their teenagers about the risks and dangers associated with throwing objects out of a moving vehicle. As some of the juveniles learned after being interviewed at the Sheriff’s Office, over 1,100 pounds of destructive force can be generated by a mere 16 ounces of bottled of water.
Victims whose vehicles were struck may call 911 and a deputy will respond to investigate.
Picture above: Damage to side mirror struck by water bottle.