Posted: Dec 13, 2012 3:46 PM by Angela Douglas - Q2 News
BILLINGS - An estimated 80 vehicles were vandalized Tuesday night throughout the city of Billings.
Billings police detectives are still investigating the reports, but as of Thursday afternoon Lt. Kevin Iffland said it appears 80 vehicles had their windows shot-out with a BB gun sometime between 8 p.m. Tuesday and 2 a.m. Wednesday.
The majority of the vandalisms occurred in the Heights, however some vehicles just east of Shiloh Road on the city's west end were also vandalized. Included in the dozens of vehicles with their windows shot out, were several Yellowstone County Sheriff's vehicles.
Authorities believe they may have identified the perpetrators, after a sheriff's deputy located two men in a vehicle, speeding through the Heights at approximately 2 a.m. Wednesday. The persons of interest, Brandon Turell, 19, and Caleb Powers, 18, were arrested on separate charges.
"When you're dealing with these type of crimes it's a drive-by situation. Unless you're actually sitting their to watch it, it's very tough to catch," said Billings Police Chief Rich St. John during a press conference Wednesday afternoon. "I can't congratulate the deputy sheriff enough. He was in the right place at the right time, asking the right questions and doing the right thing."
Turrell was arrested on a driving while under the influence (DUI) charge and probation violation, while Powers was arrested for a minor in possession (MIP) charge and then released. Neither have been charged in connection to vandalism spree, as the investigation continues.
If charged in the vandalism case, the two men will be facing felony charges due to the magnitude of the vandalism spree. No vehicles were burglarized.
An estimate on total damages is not yet available.
Although the BPD has identified a couple persons of interest, Chief St. John urges people to look out for their neighbors and pay attention to what's going on in their neighborhood.
"Be very mindful of suspicious cars, suspicious people in the area. Don't hesitate to call the police, that's what we're here for. You don't need to confront people," said St. John. "If you hear strange noises, take a look. A lot of times somebody will hear something and they just dismiss it, when in fact it might have been a window that was shot out and we had an opportunity to at least get a car description as it goes by."
The last time there was a rash of vehicle vandalisms was nearly a year ago, when five teenagers vandalized more than 200 vehicles throughout the city, amounting to nearly $100,000 in damages.