Vandals cut wide swath through MitchellStolen vehicles used to vandalize football field, mailboxes, street signs.
By: Chris Mueller, The Daily Republic
A crashed vehicle found abandoned early Monday morning near Joe Quintal Field in Mitchell began an ongoing police investigation into a string of vehicle thefts and acts of vandalism that caused an estimated $10,000 in total damage.
“It’s just obviously a disappointment,” said Mitchell High School football coach Kent VanOverschelde. “It’s inexcusable. You wish these things would never have to happen.”
Football activities will continue as scheduled at the field unless the damage causes a safety issue, VanOverschelde said.
“As always, I’m sure the grounds crew will be right on top of getting it fixed up,” he said.
At approximately 4:48 a.m., Mitchell police responded to a report of a red, heavily damaged 1998 Dodge Ram pickup still running in the 1000 block of North Capital Street near Mitchell High School, according to Mitchell Police Detective Lt. Don Everson. The pickup was stolen from the 2200 block of North Kimball Street, a Monday news release says.
The vehicle was driven onto nearby Joe Quintal Field, causing about $4,500 in damage to three fences and a signpost, Everson said.
Police believe the incident is linked to three other vehicles thought to have been stolen Monday. Two of the vehicles, a white 1989 Chevy Celebrity and a tan 1992 Dodge Dakota, were recovered at Kibbee Park near Lake Mitchell. The Dakota was partly submerged in the lake and both vehicles were visibly damaged. Police are still searching for a blue 1999 Ford F-250 pickup also reported stolen.
The vehicle thefts are believed to be related to reports of vandalized mailboxes and street signs around the city, Everson said.
He estimated more than $10,000 in damages has been caused in the incidents.
It is likely more than one person is involved in the crimes, Everson said, but based on the investigation, all the incidents appear to be linked.
Mitchell School District Superintendent Joe Graves called the vandalism “discouraging” but said the school was already in the process of making the repairs.
“Everything will be ready for the upcoming athletic seasons,” he said.
Anyone with information in relation to this incident or who witnessed suspicious activity in the area at the time of the incident, or with information relating to any other crime, is urged to call Crime Stoppers at 996-1700.
Callers do not have to identify themselves, and a cash reward is available if information leads to the arrest of the subject or subjects involved. There are no caller IDs attached to the phone line. To send a crime tip via text message, text “MITCS” plus a message to 274637.
Upon receipt of a tipster’s first incoming message, the system will auto-reply with a confirmation containing the tipster’s unique tip ID. Anonymous two-way communication can then occur between the tipster and investigators.
Tips may also be submitted by email at mitchellcrimestoppers.org.
A minimum of $250 is paid for rewards on all Crimes of the Weeks solved though Crime Stoppers. Mitchell Area Crime Stoppers Inc. offers this reward.
To date, 333 crimes have been solved through information from Crime Stoppers.