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Cops Corner

Backup cameras blinded by spray-painting vandal

Green paint, a smashed windshield, damaged tires and more from a vehicle vandalism week from the files of the Sarasota Police Department.

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Saturday, March 25

Caught green-handed

7:15 p.m., 4100 block of South Tamiami Trail

Property Damage: While on a separate call for service, an officer was flagged down by a woman who advised that the backup camera on her vehicle had been sprayed with green paint, causing her to be unable to see through the camera while backing up. The victim said she believed a juvenile who was asking people for money and food earlier that day was the perpetrator. 

Meanwhile, another officer on a different call was flagged down by a woman who stated after leaving work that she entered her vehicle and attempted to back out of her parking spot, but was unable to see out of her backup camera because it, too, had been sprayed with green paint. 

There were no witnesses or cameras in the area where the second victim’s vehicle was parked, but several of the vehicle owner's fellow employees were certain that a specific juvenile who was seen with paint on is hands was the perpetrator. An officer located the juvenile in question, who claimed the paint on his hands was from face-painting earlier in the evening.

Both victims stated they did not wish to press charges.

Sunday, March 26

Walking on broken glass

9:38 a.m., 2800 block of Gillespie Avenue

Criminal Mischief: A woman told police her windshield had been damaged by a large piece of cement that was intentionally thrown. She further told police she believes the father of her child was the perpetrator, and that they are not currently in a relationship.

There is no video evidence of the damage, but the victim said she received many notifications from her video doorbell that showed a vehicle passing in front of her home several times, positively identifying the vehicle and its owner as a woman with whom her child’s father also has a child. When she looked at the live feed she saw a large piece of concrete next to the car and that her windshield was broken. 

The victim said the doorbell camera records only short periods of time and that it did not capture the actual incident, although she did tell police the suspect had sent her text messages threatening to damage her property. The officer's attempts to contact both the suspect and the owner of the suspect vehicle were unsuccessful. 

Running a fan

5:44 p.m., 3400 block of South Osprey Avenue

Business Burglary: A call about a burglary in progress at a business turned out to be the presence of an individual who had permission to be on the premises. Third-party witnesses say they observed a male suspect running in the parking lot of the closed business with items in his hands.

Officers contacted the subject in the parking who advised he was staying in a recreational vehicle behind the business and that he had permission to be there. He said he was carrying a fan from the business and was running through the parking lot because he was barefoot. An employee of the business responded to the scene said he observed no property was damaged or missing.  

Monday, March 27

Tiny bubbles

9:20 a.m., 2800 block of Fruitville Road

Property Damage: An owner of an automotive service business told police someone had been damaging tires on vehicles parked at the business by “stabbing” them with an object that makes tiny holes, such as a needle. The officer walked the property with the complainant and sprayed the tires with a soap solution resulting in small bubbles forming on the surface. 

While not visible, the holes appeared to be made with something the size of a hypodermic needle. Tires were damaged on four vehicles at an estimated cost of $1,025. The investigation is ongoing.



Andrew Warfield

Andrew Warfield is the Sarasota Observer city reporter. He is a four-decade veteran of print media. A Florida native, he has spent most of his career in the Carolinas as a writer and editor, nearly a decade as co-founder and editor of a community newspaper in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.

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