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'Well-intentioned prank' goes too far

Cary Ashby • Sep 2, 2014 at 11:39 AM

The investigator said the vehicle vandalism suspects took a "well-intentioned prank" too far over the edge.

As a result, prosecutors are considering filing charges against five teenagers in connection with vandalizing three vehicles from the night of Aug. 17 through the morning of Aug. 18. Authorities said the suspects are a 16-year-old boy, two 17-year-old boys, a 17-year-old girl and an 18-year-old rural Monroeville woman.

Norwalk Police Capt. Dave Smith began his investigation once one of the victim's mothers approached him.

"Then a second victim came in and I talked to a third victim's dad," Smith said.

He expects each of the suspects to be charged with criminal mischief, a third-degree misdemeanor.

"A majority of them considered it a well-intentioned prank," said Smith, who declined to clarify. "It went a little far."

Smith said vehicle-marking paint went onto the paint job of the vehicles, where it's not intended to be used, was all over the cars and the suspects wrote some vulgar phrases.

"The pen leaked out all over the back of the hatchback (of one vehicle)," he added. "There were some vulgarities."

The mother of a 16-year-old victim said her daughter has had a "history" with the 18-year-old Monroeville female suspect "going back a year-and-a-half." She is unsure what caused the tension between the girls.

"This is not the first time we've had problems with this girl," the mother added.

She accused the older teen of getting one of her family vehicles wet during the winter of 2012 and adding toilet paper "so it would freeze on there."

Three days after the Super Wendy's opened on Milan Avenue in Norwalk, the two girls encountered each other. The mother said her daughter was eating outside with a friend when the older girl reportedly yelled obscenities as she entered and left the fast-food restaurant.

Her daughter and the suspect weren't friends before the recent, suspected incident.

When asked about the clean-up from the vandalism, the woman said her daughter took the car through a car wash twice and hand-washed the vehicle before all of the paint was gone.

"It was on the black molding on the car. We didn't know if we could get the paint off (at first)," she said.

Smith, when asked about the vandalism, said it took a long time for the victims to remove the paint.

"No permanent damage (has been) reported as of yet," the officer said Wednesday.

Smith interviewed two of the suspects during his investigation.

"They gave me the names of the three other (people) involved, so I got all five (suspects) from what they told me," he said.

Smith has forwarded a report to Norwalk Assistant Law Director Scott Christophel for the consideration of filing charges against the rural Monroeville woman. The officer also sent a report to the Huron County Prosecutor's Office and Huron County Juvenile Court regarding the four juvenile suspects.

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