Nearly 60 cars vandalized in Sonoma County

December 24, 2009 11:22:51 PM PST
A Grinch with a grudge. Dozens of windshields on county-owned cars -- shattered. It is happening in the middle of a Christmas tree controversy and investigators in Sonoma County are looking into whether there might be a connection, but there is another possible motive.

By the looks of it, it appears someone has an axe to grind with Sonoma County. Windows at the Board of Supervisors and the Human Services building are now boarded up and the windshields and side windows of nearly 60 county vehicles need to be replaced. County workers discovered the damage early Thursday morning along with a few rocks left at the scene.

"It appears that they took those stumps and slammed them into the windshields; they didn't throw them at the vehicles so much as they slammed them into the windshields; and that takes a lot of effort, it take a lot of effort to break a windshield," county fleet operation manager Dave Head said.

Sonoma County has since stepped up security. Two guards, instead of one, are now patrolling county administration buildings. They are also providing around the clock surveillance.

Santa Rosa police, meanwhile, are trying to figure out who is responsible. There is speculation that this may be related to the recent controversy over certain Christmas ornaments in county offices. A citizen demanded they be taken down, the acting county administrator ultimately refused. Police are also looking into whether this was the act of a county worker.

"Our detectives are going to be doing some follow up interviews with various county employees, those in Health and Human Service and also the Board of Supervisors, trying to identify if perhaps it is a disgruntled employee; there were some furloughs at the county," Santa Rosa Police Sgt. Michael Clarke said.

Police hope blood collected from a few of the vehicles will help with their investigation. The damage to the windshield is estimated at $35,000, an amount which makes this case a felony.

"This costs the taxpayers money, this all goes back to the taxpayers of Sonoma County so it's very frustrating to see us having to spend money this way," Head said.

The good news is that the damage will not disrupt county services. The windshields will be fixed by the time employees return to work January 4.

Police are offering a $2,500 reward for information about the incident.


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