Sheridan ‘hexer’ vandalism suspect avoids jail time

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UPDATE (Nov. 22, 2017)-- Jerry Coy won't spend time in jail, but was sentenced to wear an electronic monitor for the next three years.

Original story: 

SHERIDAN, Ind.- A 65-year-old Sheridan man has been arrested following a strange crime spree that began two years ago.

Since 2014, a bizarre vandal has been keeping the town of Sheridan on edge. For the past two years, police have been investigating several instances where the word "hex" was spray painted on homes, business and cars. In many cases, the items that were vandalized were also set on fire. Despite many attempts to apprehend the suspect, no strong leads were ever established.

"It was very challenging," said Sheridan Police Chief Bob Shock. "For one, there were very few clues.”

However, authorities got a break in the case this past Tuesday, when an officer on patrol, Wesley Garst, spotted the word "hex"freshly painted on a building. He then spotted a male suspect creeping nearby.

"Hex" vandalism on garage door.

"Hex" vandalism on garage door.

"[He] had a mask on his face and a hat on and a flashlight," said Garst. "As soon as I announced myself, he took off running."

After a short chase, the pursuit turned violent. The suspect hit Garst on the head with a hammer.

The suspect, identified as Jerry Coy, was eventually taken down with a Taser and arrested. Authorities were surprised at Coy's arrest because he was a regular attendee at public meetings called to keep the town informed about the on-going vandalism and arson cases.

Coy is facing several charges, including aggravated assault, resisting law enforcement and criminal mischief. He was released from the Hamilton County Jail on bond, but authorities say the investigation is ongoing.