Detectives arrest two in BB gun vandalism

January 27th, 2011 by Staff

SEMINOLE, Fla. – Detectives have arrested two suspects in connection with a series of 275 vehicle vandalisms that occurred in Seminole, Largo and Belleair Bluffs.

According to detectives, the suspects had each recently purchased a BB gun.

Detectives say that on Friday evening, January 21, 18-year-old Brandon Lee Smith, (the driver and owner of the car) and 19-year-old Evan Keith Salas (the passenger) drove around, taking turns randomly shooting at vehicles from their moving vehicle.

Hundreds of cars were damaged, and easily climbed into the thousands of dollars.

Detective say the two suspects admitted to shooting out vehicle windows in the area of Seminole, as well as in areas of Largo and Belleair Bluffs. They told detectives they did so because they were ‘bored.’

The vandals shot out windshields, back windows and side windows of 275 vehicles. Most of the targets were in the 82nd Avenue area and from 131st Street to 143rd Street.

A new window at a Jiffy Lube in Seminole marks one of the casualty sites.

“This is the one that got shot. It’s now plexiglass,” Assistant Manager Cody Williams explained.

Jiffy Lube paid $280 to repair it. That’s just a little more than half of what Carol Heintz paid to fix her SUV’s back window.

“We paid like $535,” she said. “Tragic that someone else thinks that they have the right to hurt or damage someone else’s property that doesn’t belong to them.”

Add their bill to the Jiffy Lube window repair costs, then tack on another 270 some cars with blasted windows and the price tag, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, hovers around $110,000.

“You’re destroying other people’s property, costing a lot of people a lot of money,” Williams said.

Crime Analysts at the Sheriff’s Office were able to use surveillance photo of the vehicle to track down the owner. The owner, Smith, and his passenger, Salas, were subsequently arrested at their homes Wednesday afternoon. The two were arrested on multiple felony criminal mischief and misdemeanor criminal mischief charges.

According to detectives if the damage to the vehicle is more than $1000 it will be a felony criminal mischief charge; if damage is under $1000 the charge will be a misdemeanor. Detectives continue to sort out charges. Additional charges are pending.

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