By Kelly Abraham | Echo
Late in the evening of last Monday, April 9, six vehicles on campus were vandalized. Multiple reports of intentional damage have occurred in Grant County and some surrounding areas, not solely at Taylor.
Passing through the Les Gerig Hall parking lot recently, students might have seen taped up windshields, broken rear-view mirrors or bashed-in headlights. Within one evening, six vehicles along the same row were damaged in various capacities.
According to the possible witness descriptions, the crime likely occurred between 11 p.m. April 9 and 2 a.m. April 10. That same Monday evening, there were reports of seven similar incidents in Upland, a number of reports in Van Buren, as well as multiple vandalisms in other outlying county areas. This means Taylor students can rest assured this was not a targeted offense.
Mechanical Engineering major LeeAnna Davis was in a lab working with a partner on Tuesday when she received a phone call from campus police. They let her know about the series of vandalisms and that the left tail light of her 1999 Lincoln Town Car had been bashed in.
"It was so exciting to get a spot in the parking lot in the first place, and then to just have it end up negatively was, 'Oh man, do I want to park in this parking lot anymore?" Davis said. "It's life, things happen."
According to Chief of Police Jeff Wallace this type of "senseless destruction of property" is classified under criminal mischief and very rare but costly. The damage observed lines up consistently in impact, time and location with the damage done to off-campus vehicles.
In an unrelated incident on March 21, senior Nate Conley noticed a flat tire on his 2008 Black Mercury Milan, which nearly kept him from traveling home for spring break. When he took his car to get it fixed, Conley was told about the high chance his tire had been slashed. He believed the incident occurred in the Sammy parking lot.
"Obviously I wasn't too happy with any of that," Conley said. "Luckily, I had recently purchased a new set of tires, so the event didn't really hurt me financially because my tires had a warranty."
While the tire slashing occured in a separate lot on a different night, both vandalism cases remain as open and collaborative investigations, with law enforcement from surrounding communities sharing information. The tire slashing was an unrelated incident, having happened in a different lot on a separate night. However, the vandalisms remain an open and collaborative investigation with law enforcement from surrounding communities sharing information.
Wallace emphasized the value in students coming forward to share something that seemed out of the ordinary.
"This was the kind of thing where, even after the fact, some students said, 'Hey, I saw something,' or 'I saw this vehicle, I don't know if that's helpful or not,' but that's great," Wallace said. "That's what we want, because when we can't be everywhere at all times, students' eyes and ears are one of our best assets; that's part of our community. So, when they can see something that looks out of place, or something that might be helpful, to share that with us, sooner than later, is very helpful in us being proactive and finding some solvability for something like this, so any more information? (A)bsolutely let us know."