Police vow to crack down on vandals

Published 11:33 pm Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Homecoming pranks have been an age-old tradition for schools throughout the county, but some individuals took the ritual too far Tuesday night.

Officers with the Andalusia Police Department were deluged by reports of vandalism to various homes, cars and property throughout the City of Andalusia Tuesday night.

Andalusia Police Chief Wilbur Williams said reports are still being taken and processed, but initial indications paint an unacceptable picture.

“I have reports of eight to 12 vehicles with varying degrees of damage as a result of spray paint, scratching, eggs and other material being thrown on them,” Williams said. “Each act of vandalism could run into hundreds if not thousands of dollars. Overall we are looking at several thousands of dollars worth of damage to personal property.”

Numerous homes have fallen victim to the practice of “rolling” as schools celebrate homecoming week. In the past the act has represented a harmless source of school spirit, but Williams said spreading toilet paper could also lead to serious repercussions.

“It seems to be a tradition with the toilet paper and rolling peoples’ yards,” he said. “If they are caught doing it, they will be assigned to some type of cleanup detail to ensure the property is returned to its original state. We will not tolerate any vandalism of property, however small.”

Williams said Tuesday’s actions represent a new level of vandalism he has not witnessed during his time as police chief for the city of Andalusia.

“You see isolated acts every once in a while, but this is certainly the worst in the eight years I have been in Andalusia,” he said. “The worst thing we had before was the egging and the rolling. This is taken to a whole new level.”

According to Williams, the perpetrators will be identified and will face the full judgment of the law.

“We have the school resource officer working with us, school officials are working with us and we have two investigators, with the possibility of a third, working with us,” he said. “We are going to find them and we are going to be settled with nothing less than full restitution. It may mean that some parents will be forced to spend some money to offer that restitution.”

Williams said no suspects have been identified at this time.

“If they are juveniles, then they will be dealt with by the juvenile court,” he said. “If they are 18 years of age or older, then they will be placed in the Covington County Jail. We are not going to tolerate this level of mischief.”