THE BRAIDWOOD POLICE DEPARTMENT is offering a $1,000 reward to anyone who can provide information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the suspect(s) responsible for the damage caused to five city vehicles.
by Tonya Michalec Staff writer
Braidwood's Police Department is ready to pay a hefty reward for information that leads to catching whomever is responsible for recently damaging multiple city owned vehicles.
As Chief Rich Girot pulled into work on the morning of Thursday, June 18, he was shocked to see a couple of the police department's vehicles that were parked in the city lot had broken windshields.
Once he stepped out to take a closer look, he saw that it was not just the windshields that were damaged, but the sides and the hoods of the vehicles were also covered in small dents.
"Upon further inspection I noticed that the two vehicles, along with three more, had a decent amount of body damage as well," Girot said.
Girot said dent removal on all five vehicles in addition to the two windshield repairs will cost the city well over $1,000.
"These vehicles are not the police department's property - they are owned by the entire community. Every homeowner here now basically has to pay for this, and that's not fair.
"It's pretty sad when people damage the things that they pay for and are there to be used to help people."
The two squad cars with the broken windshields were undriveable for officers for two days until Safelite Auto Glass repaiews them on site. All five vehicles will be scheduled for body repair work at Warren's Collision in the near future.
This is not the first time the city vehicles were damaged by vandals. Last year, officers found two squad cars sitting on the rims; their tires had been slashed at some point during the night.
"It's not the first time someone has damaged these cars, but this current situation is probably the worst amount of damage that we've seen in a while," Girot pointed out.
The police chief explained that the person or persons who caused the damage to the could be charged with a felony since this the damage was caused intentionally to state supported property. The Class 3 felony is punishable by 2 to 5 years of imprisonment, plus fines in the amount of the damage.
"These vehicles are a tool that the police department needs to be able to use to help ensure the safety of this community. When we have multiple damaged squads, we have less vehicles accessible in case of a sudden emergency."
Evidence left at the scene was collected by officers. The department is currently waiting for the final forensic reports to be returned from the lab.
A $1,000 reward by the department awaits anyone with information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for the damage. They can contact the Braidwood Police Department at its non-emergency line, 815-458-2342, or call Will County Crime Stoppers hotline at 800-323-6734. Callers can choose to remain anonymous.
Contact staff writer Tonya Michalec at email@example.com.