Andover vandalism suspect arrested; actions still felt throughout community

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Although Westfield resident Ben Caruso has tried to cover the three separate attacks on his van, the scratches are still visible. Caruso is just one of the vandalism victims in the Andover neighborhood, and his van was hit on three separate occasions. One time the suspect left scratches, but during the other two expletives were scratched into the paint of Caruso’s van.

Although he was hit multiple times, Caruso said he doesn’t think he was specifically targeted.
“I don’t know people in the neighborhood well, so they don’t know me well,” Caruso said.

The first attack wasn’t very visible, and Caruso said he didn’t notice the damage until seeing social media posts from others detailing the vandalism. Both of Caruso’s neighbors on either side of his property also were hit with scratches on their vehicles.

Andover resident Tony Burtron’s truck also was scratched during the vandalism, and the ropes of a basketball net guard on his property were cut as well. His property was hit multiple times.

“We had just installed a basketball goal for my little girl and a yard net,” he said. “That night the vandal came by and cut several holes in that net as well as that night did lots of damage to the hood of my truck. Like a box knife or utility knife in order to make the cuts.”

Burtron said he spoke to police and his daughter overheard police telling her father the damage was most likely the work of a teenager.

“She was outside when we were doing the police report, and the policeman made a comment about bored teens trying to have something to do, so it did affect her,” he said. “She told me after, during the weekend, ‘I think I heard teenagers outside.’ It definitely is upsetting when stuff like that happens to you.”

According to a statement released on its Facebook page, the Westfield Police Dept. arrested a 15-year-old juvenile suspect on May 3 after reviewing video evidence and speaking with residents. WPD posted it had responded to multiple reports of vandalism in the Andover neighborhood since April 21 on at least three different dates. Det. Anthony Howard completed a Juvenile Detention Report for mischief, unlawful entry of motor vehicle and theft. The juvenile was then transported and detained at the Hamilton County Juvenile Services Center. Since then, Caruso said he doesn’t believe the attacks have continued.

“As far as I know, that’s all that’s happened in this neighborhood,” he said. “I saw a couple of (social media) posts where (vandalism) might’ve happened, but that could also be someone got hit and didn’t realize it right away like I did.”

Emily Winegard also is a resident in the neighborhood. She lives with her parents as she is on break from college. Her car also was hit when the vandalism occurred. A big X was carved into her trunk.

“I’m glad (the vandalism is) done, and hopefully (the suspect) can get help and doesn’t continue to destroy people’s property,” she said.

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