By Margie Wuebker
A Celina woman preparing for work found three tires flattened on her parked car early today and quickly learned she was not the random target of unwanted vandalism. Even a Mercer County Sheriff's Office cruiser failed to emerge unscathed.
"My tires were flat," said Lisa Atkins, 138 Myers Road, Celina. "My neighbor's car windows were busted out and we were not alone."
Celina Police responded to Myers Road shortly before 5 a.m. and discovered a total of six vehicles with slashed tires and/or bashed windows. The cars and vans were parked in driveways or along the street.
In addition to Atkins, other victims included Phyllis Trisel, 136 Myers Road; Susan McDowell, 152 Myers Road; Lori Hiser, 150 Myers Road; and Scott Behm, 144 Myers Road. Trisel had two vehicles damaged.
Residents reported hearing noises in the area between 11:30 p.m. and midnight. However, no one spotted anyone along the street. Police found three more damaged vehicles while checking the surrounding area. A side window as well as a back window were smashed in a marked cruiser parked at the Margo Lane residence of Lt. Bill Westgerdes. One tire on each of his two personal vehicles had been slashed.
"We are continuing to investigate the incidents," Celina Police Chief Dave Slusser told The Daily Standard. "The vandalism appears to be random with no one person being targeted."
Police have responded to calls relating to missing Halloween decorations, yards draped in toilet paper and more than enough smashed pumpkins to fill a patch. While these have been attributed to youths and others convinced they were merely spreading seasonal greeting, Slusser said no suspects have been developed as yet in this morning's vandalism.
He encourages anyone who spotted people out and about in driveways and sidewalks in the Myers Road and Margo Lane areas around midnight to call the police department at (419) 586-2345.