UPDATE: Wis. Rapids Police Arrest Teens Accused of 38 Vandalism Acts

By: Madeline Anderson Email
By: Madeline Anderson Email

Click the image on the right to view more photos of the damage.

Two teens are in custody following 38 separate incidents of vandalism over a 30 hour period.

The Wisconsin Rapids Police Department began receiving calls early in the morning on Sept. 29 of damage to homes and vehicles. Later that Saturday, a witness gave a description of the suspects after seeing suspicious activity near a motorcycle. Law enforcement were able to track them down in the city's skate park shortly before midnight. Officers say they arrested two 14-year-olds who admitted to the crimes.

Now, the victims of the vandalism are left wondering, how kids could do this?

"We were going to go camping this weekend because I was coming in to put the clothes in and when I got to the bedroom, there was glass all over the bed and then I looked up and seen that," said Joice Gustin, pointing to the smashed window and dents in the side of her RV.

"I started crying because we just got the trailer," she said. "It's a new one."

Gustin believes a 10 lb. rock she found under the camper was thrown at the window either Friday or Saturday night. And she's not the only one picking up the pieces the vandals left behind. Her neighbor across the street woke up to a keyed car, and a mile away, a home owner's yard lights were ripped out of the ground.

"It surprises me the disregard for personal property," Lt. Kevin Schwartz said. "I don't think that's something we saw 20 years ago. And it seems like our violators are getting younger."

Wis. Rapids police say there's no doubt the teens did it, but why they would cause more than $10,000 worth of damage, "That's a question everybody's asking," Lt. Schwartz said. "And I don't think we know that yet."

"Kids don't have enough stuff to do," Gustin said. "They need somewhere to play." She blames a lack of discipline and structure on the parents' part.

Police believe one of the kids was staying at the others' house and the parents simply lost track of them, but that everyone is cooperating with the investigation.

"Nowadays, nobody cares," Gustin said. "Parents just let them run." For the victims, it's more than just the money they've lost.

"Now I'm cleaning [the trailer] out for the winter because we're not going to be able to go camping no more," Gustin said.

Since the suspects are juveniles, they will most likely face some kind of juvenile detention or will have to pay restitution if convicted.

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