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Vehicle break-in at Elder Grove school leaves Billings woman frustrated

Broken window.PNG
Posted at 6:26 PM, Oct 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-13 20:27:56-04

BILLINGS — When you’re at a kids’ basketball game, the last thing you expect is to come out and find your car vandalized.

But that’s exactly what happened to Isabella Del Carpio on Tuesday when she came out to find that an unknown man took a rock, caved in her passenger side window and stole her wallet, all in broad daylight.

She says she has no idea why her truck was targeted.

"At first, we thought that maybe I upset someone. Did I cut someone off in traffic? Did I not use my turn signal that day? Did I make somebody mad at some point?" said Del Carpio.

The destruction continued after he left the parking lot after the break in. Del Carpio says he set off on a spending spree charging more than $2,000 to her credit card. She was watching her daughter's basketball game at the school when she got an alert on her phone of an abnormal transaction.

"She got the alert and didn’t even think too much of it at first. We were watching the game and she says 'oh, I don’t go to Albertsons, I better decline this.' And then when we went out, we saw what happened to the vehicle," said Candace Hamilton, friend of Del Carpio.

The thief swiped the card at Target, Wal-Mart, JC Penneys and Albertsons and most of what he purchased was just "every-day items" according to Del Carpio. She received the alerts of the attempted and successful purchases on her phone as she was trying to shut down the cards.

"It happened for an hour and half. The time that we were talking to the cops were the times that we were getting the notifications. It was happening in real time, but the police officer didn’t think it was a good idea to go apprehend them. He said it was just better for it to hit my statement and then just send them my statements, but I said, 'I can see it, I’m getting notifications in real time', and we knew where they were because of it," added Del Carpio.

Del Carpio says she’s not worried about the money; she’ll get that back from the credit card companies. It’s the uneasiness that followed.

"It’s more of the violation. The inconvenience is one thing, but you know, my kids seeing the car in the condition it was in, it goes from 'yay we won a basketball game', to, 'oh my goodness what happened is everyone ok?'" Del Carpio said.

Both women are also disheartened that no one tried to intervene.

"People would rather just go about their day than give someone a heads up. That’s not even inconveniencing you to just run and be like, 'hey, someone’s alarm is going off,' or take a picture of it. So, it’s sad to see that people don’t really care," Hamilton added.

Yellowstone County sheriff's deputies are investigating the incident.

Events like this seem to happen fairly often in the Billings area, and it's an occurrence Del Carpio feels is an unfortunate trend.

"The one thing that I learned about this as I talked to more people about it is that everyone has a story of when this happened to them, or when it happened to their sister or when it happened to some kid at work. I was actually shocked to hear how common this is and how it’s become just routine. It’s not acceptable and we shouldn’t allow it to be just every-day routine where we just accept that that’s how it’s going to be. I don’t think you should accept that. I think you should consider something like this a terrible thing and people that do that are not good people," Del Carpio said.