CARROLLTON — Eric Courts is quickly losing cars. Two have been vandalized in two days.
“I’m not sure what I’m going to drive to work tomorrow,” he said. “This is the last thing I expected.”
Many were caught off-guard Sunday morning after realizing a team of vandals had struck again overnight, bringing their tally of damaged vehicles to more than 100.
“That’s pretty brazen,” Courts said.
On Saturday morning, he awoke to find the windows of his Lexus SUV had been shattered. Police think the vandals returned the next night to flatten two tires on his Toyota 4-Runner.
For now, he’s decided to quit spending money on repairs. He now plans on leaving his SUV parked on the street with its flattened tires.
“I don’t think it’s smart money to put new tires on it until they get these guys,” he said.
Catching these vandals is consuming a huge amount of manpower for the Carrollton Police Department. More officers were deployed overnight and detectives have been assigned to handle all the extra cases.
“I believe that that deployment is a reason why there was 16 offenses instead of 89 like the night before,” said department spokesman Lt. Doug Mitchell.
Police said a group of at least three men drove through Carrollton neighborhoods Saturday night swinging a golf club at parked cars, shattering the windows of 91 vehicles.
The next night, police believe the men continued their work by adding a knife to their arsenal, using it to deflate dozens of tires. Sixteen more cars were damaged early Sunday morning; some families, like the Courts, were hit twice.
The vandals seem to be randomly hitting vehicles in the northwest part of the city in neighborhoods bordered by West Trinity Mills Road, North Josey Lane and Highway 121.
“They obviously don’t have God in their life. They’re not going to be going to the right place,” said Don Tripp.
All four of tires on his truck were flattened. Adding to his grief is the fact that two of the tires were brand-new. He now expects to spend $600 replacing them.
“I got two kids in college, so it hurts,” he said.
A home’s surveillance camera captured the vandals’ work from Saturday morning. At least three men pull up in a white mid-1990s Toyota Camry with a gold license plate frame. The men don’t bother getting out of the car. Instead the video shows they simply lean out the back windows and swing away at a parked car. As a parting blow, the men often knock out a side mirror. The entire crime lasts just a few seconds.
A second camera shows a similar car shortly before an attack the next night. Police have made no arrests and don’t have a suspect description.
“It’s just ridiculous... it caused a lot of damage,” said Adrian Resa. His family’s mini-van was hit Saturday, forcing him to cancel a day of planned of activities with his five kids.
“I’ve got a large family,” he said. “This is the vehicle we use and I guess they don’t realize that.”
Since so many cars were damaged, police emphasize the men’s behavior goes beyond petty vandalism. Lt. Mitchell says it’s very likely the crime will rise to the level of a third degree felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
“We want to try and track these folks down and hold them accountable for their behavior,” he said.
As do plenty of their victims, who cursed the crime as they swept out broken glass and opened checkbooks.
“Hopefully, they’ll catch these kids and they’ll pay the price,” said Nick Martin, who spent $135 replacing his truck’s rear window. “I want to be reimbursed.”