80+ Victims in Ames Vandalism Case

AMES, Iowa — Ames is dealing with a wave of vandalism and police are looking for help tracking down the suspect. Since March 20, police say they’ve been getting reports of car and business windows being shot out with a BB gun.

Police say they’ve had cases before with 15 or 20 victims but nothing like this in terms of size and scope; the individual cases are scattered all throughout the city.

“I heard a noise in the middle of the night, didn’t think of anything to major about it” said Matthew Howard.

When Howard woke up he discovered he was the vandal’s latest victim.

“Went out ready to go to work and yeah, somebody had put a couple of BBs through the side of the window, knocked out a good amount of the glass” said Howard.

Now, like many others, Howard had to call a repair company to come replace his window.

“I could see the other cars behind it all had their windows shot out, so it was upsetting. It’s not the worst thing in the world, still a working car, but it’s upsetting that someone is driving around town shooting out windows” said Howard.

As he replaced Howard’s window the Safelite technician said they had four other employees working in the area dealing with the results of, who he, calls “the BB bandit”.  However, the targets don’t stop at just cars.

“We’ve had a few businesses, that have had windows broken and cracked, and then our Cy-Ride bus stops also have windbreaks made out of glass and we’ve had some of those hit, pretty expensive.

How expensive? Ames Police Commander Geoff Huff says so far they’re looking at close to $25,000 worth of damage.

“Total damage is getting pretty high so it’s going to end up being fairly serious once we figure it out” said Huff.

That’s proved to be the hard part. Police don’t have a suspect vehicle description or a license plate to work off. They’re asking for the public’s help. Police say if you have home security video and live near one of the incidents look at it for anything suspicious. They say this case is so large they don’t have the manpower to comb through all the video themselves. Victims like Howard hope that at the end there is some to hold responsible.

“It’ll just give us a little more peace of mind because at night we’ll be able to sleep without worrying our cars will be vandalized even further” he said.

Commander Huff says with the damage total rising whoever is responsible could be looking at felony charges.