The Clinton Police Department is investigating a rash of vandalism that has occurred throughout the city since Dec. 2, and offering a $500 reward for information leading the arrest and conviction of those responsible for damage to numerous homes and vehicles.
The suspects are reportedly targeting windows on both houses and vehicles, inflicting damage with BB guns. Police have urged citizens to be on the lookout for these vandals and report any suspicious people or vehicles by calling 911.
“It’s sporadic throughout the city,” Sgt. Robbie King said of the incidents, of which there have been between 10-15, he noted. “We’re asking everybody to be on the lookout for suspicious vehicles.”
He said the incidents are believed to be connected, in that they are similar and police have responded to a rash of reports in the past five weeks. However, reports from residents have been all over, from Park Avenue and Kerr Street to the Belfield community, even neighborhoods off North Boulevard and in Coharie Country Club.
Anyone who has information on the incidents is encouraged to call Sgt. Robbie King with the Neighborhood Improvement Team (NIT) at 910-592-3105. Information can be reported anonymously by calling 910-590-3009 or texting keyword tipcpd and the information to TIP411 (847411) or by sending information through the “tipcpd” app for Apple and Android devices.
Similar calls on the public have proven successful in recent weeks as NIT officers subsequently received a tips from via its anonymous texting service about an attempted theft at the gift shop at Sampson Regional Medical Center on Dec. 23, in which four people were seen on in-store surveillance camera reportedly working as a team to take jewelry.
As a result of the tips, investigators took out warrants on two suspects in that case, arresting them Dec. 29.
Alex Torres, 22, of 314 Beverly Lane, Clinton, and Zachary Thornton, 22, of 3461 Roseboro Hwy., Clinton, were each charged with concealment of merchandise. Torres also received an unrelated charge from the Sampson County Sheriff’s Office. While one of the suspects tried to take jewelry, it fell through his pants to the ground and the four people, labeled as persons of interests, fled from the store.
King said the case is still being investigated, but warrants have not been taken out on the other two people.
The police sergeant expressed his thanks for the many who called and submitted information to the department following that incident, which was the catalyst for the arrests. Police authorities are seeking the same kind of assistance about the recent incidents of vandalism.
“We got an overwhelming response with people giving us tips that led to the arrests of those two,” said King, “and we’re very thankful to the citizens that helped us in that investigation.”
Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.