Columbus police searching for vandals seen damaging car in surveillance video


Vandals caught on camera November 25, 2017

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COLUMBUS, Ind. - Columbus police are hoping somebody will recognize a group of vandals who were caught on camera while damaging a homeowner’s car over the weekend.

“It’s sad any time you’re looking at the destruction of somebody else’s property,” said Columbus Police Lt. Matt Harris. “We of course want to identify who these young persons are and make sure they’re held responsible for their actions.”

The video was captured on a home surveillance system around 3:30a.m. Saturday in the 1700 block of Cottage Avenue. The footage appears to show three young males taking turns as they kick and jump on top of a car in an alley parking area behind the owner’s home. The brief incident left the Chevy Impala with dents on the hood and a cracked windshield.

The homeowner who posted the video to Facebook says he recently installed the security cameras on his property because of a similar previous incident.

The vandals were apparently unaware of the security camera roughly eight feet away, pointing in their direction.

“The pictures and video have already garnered quite a bit of attention on social media,” Harris said. “And we’re hoping that someone will contact the Columbus Police Department.”

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Neighbors along Cottage Avenue say this isn’t the first trouble they’ve seen recently. In the last few weeks and months, they say a scooter was stolen from the same alley. A woman across the street said somebody shot firecrackers at her SUV that was parked on the street.

Residents who have seen the video noted the large drink cups in the hands of the suspects as they damaged the car. They wonder if those drinks may have come from the Circle K convenience store, which is about a block away. The 24-hour gas station is said to be a popular place overnight on weekends.

Harris said a detective will likely seek in-store surveillance footage from the store to see if any customers match the descriptions of the young people captured in the vandalism video.

“It’s not uncommon for our officers and investigators to go to areas surrounding where crimes have occurred to see if there’s any additional video surveillance footage,” Harris said.

In the past, Harris says catching suspects in a case like this could be a long shot, but increasingly popular home security cameras have changed the game.

“It assists us in identifying suspects and ultimately solving crimes much much faster,” he said. “We’ve solved crimes here in Columbus by homeowners providing video footage to our officers.”

Harris encourages homeowners to install their own home surveillance cameras as a crime deterrent, and as a method of catching suspects.

“Banks and businesses utilize video surveillance and we’ve used that to solve robberies here in Columbus,” Harris said. “So it makes sense that homeowners would take advantage of this technology as well.”

Anyone who recognizes the individuals in the video is asked to contact the Columbus Police Department at (812) 376-2600. Tipsters can remain anonymous.

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