What was initially investigated as a weekend of pranks, has now become a summer of vandalism and the residents of one Berryville neighborhood have had enough. “It was one thing for a single night of juvenile crime, but after three months, I want to press charges,” one resident stated after discovering that nine neighbors were affected by Saturday night’s vandalism spree.
Last weekend the Berryville Police Department received 9 reports of vandalism in the area of Battlefield Estates. The majority of the vandalism involved the removal of landscaping items from yards, most of which were recovered at other yards in the neighborhood. However, of the nine vandalism reports, three of the reports were for mailboxes that were vandalized along Jackson Drive. This marked an escalation in the vandals activities which now involves federal laws. Mailboxes are considered federal property, and federal law (Title 18, United States Code, Section 1705), makes it a crime to vandalize them (or to injure, deface or destroy any mail deposited in them). Violators can be fined up to $250,000, or imprisoned for up to three years, for each act of vandalism.
Police confirmed that there have been similar incidents in the northwest quadrant of Berryville that have been reported over the past three months. On June 14 – 15, 2011 there were 6 reported vandalism cases and on June 25-28, 2011 there were 7 reported.
Law enforcement officials said they are working on the issue. Chief Neal White of the Berryville Police said, “We have increased patrols in the area where the cases of vandalism have been occurring. We have also requested assistance from those in the neighborhoods affected to report any suspicious activity immediately to law enforcement.”
Police have canvassed areas of the neighborhood going door-to-door asking residents if they have seen any unusual activity. Despite the increased attention police have been unable to identify any suspects. Chief White said, “Some leads have developed in these cases, but have not bore fruit to this point.”