Angry vandal damages cars, mailboxes on Whitener Street

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

In the pre-dawn hours of Tuesday morning, the 2800 block of Whitener Street was littered with what resembled debris left by an angry storm.

"When I turned the corner and my lights hit the street, it looked like a tornado had gone through there," said trooper Aaron Harrison with the Missouri State Highway Patrol. "There were mailboxes and all sorts of stuff everywhere. You couldn't even drive down that street."

But it wasn't a storm that ripped apart a block's worth of apartment mailboxes and took out its wrath on several parked cars. It was one angry man, police say.

"The suspect was upset over an issue and just took out his frustrations on anything he walked past," said Cape Girardeau police spokesman Sgt. Rick Schmidt.

At least 10 sets of mailboxes and 10 cars were discovered damaged along what police say is a well-lit street. License plates were bent and side mirrors, windshield wipers and antennas were either broken off or left dangling from cars, some of which were scratched.

Frank Bean of Bean Properties is co-owner of some of the apartment houses and is working quickly to replace 47 mailboxes.

"We are right now cutting new boards and buying replacement mailboxes," he said Tuesday evening.

The damage will cost his company about $800 to $1,000, which won't be covered by insurance, he said.

Bean said he thought it must have taken the vandal at least one to two hours to carry out that amount of destruction.

"Somebody was on a terror. I just don't know how someone there couldn't have seen it happening and reported it sooner," he said.

Trooper Harrison had been driving past the area when he overheard a city radio dispatcher say a caller had just reported seeing a man vandalizing property on the 2800 block of Whitener.

"I was right near there, so I decided to check it out," Harrison said.

After he saw the destruction, Harrison spotted a man walking across a grassy yard. When Harrison tried to stop him, the man ran to an apartment complex on Silver Springs and tried to go inside, but was unable to get in a side door.

"He took off running and I caught him behind the apartment house," Harrison said. "He was drenched in sweat and cut up on his arms from tearing everything up."

The 28-year-old man told officers he had been kicked out of a bar that evening and was upset as he was walking home to his apartment on Silver Springs, Harrison said.

Police submitted a request for charges to the county prosecuting attorney's office but were instructed to release the man pending further investigation, Schmidt said.

mwells@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 160

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