Vandals Hit More Than 50 Homes, Businesses

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Reports of more than 50 random acts of destruction lit up Payson Police Department phone lines over the weekend.

Damage reports began pouring into the police department Saturday morning when residents reported home and automobile damage caused by BB or pellet guns.

Most of the damage was to windows and windshields that were either completely shot out or broken, Payson Police Chief Gordon Gartner said.

Residents continued to report the vandals' spree Sunday and Monday. Police speculate the destruction, estimated to be in the thousands of dollars, was probably caused by young people on a senseless and unprovoked rampage.

"These are not acts of mature people," Gartner said.

All areas of the community, including some business, were subject to the attacks but the majority of incidents were in the northern part of town, Payson Police Detective Steve Johnson said.

On Monday, The Payson Roundup received a letter to the editor from a resident who said she had the windows of her home shot out Friday night.

In the letter, the writer who asked to remain anonymous predicts that if the senseless acts continue, someone will eventually be hurt by one of the pellets. She also called the vandalism "acts of stupidity."

According to Gartner, police are currently investigating suspects seen purchasing BBs at Wal-Mart. Police have also received reports of several suspicious cars seen over the weekend in the neighborhoods struck by the vandals.

According to Johnson, police will follow up those leads.

If the culprits are found, they could face thousands of dollars in fines and restitution as well as charges of criminal damage, Gartner said.

Police are offering a $100 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the culprits. To contact police, call 474-5177.

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