Police discover two suspects in string of vandalism crimes

TCU Police have identified a group of teenagers they say are responsible for $20,000 worth of theft and vandalism on campus over the last three years. A group of 14- to 15-year-old boys from the TCU area have been linked to several incidents with damage totaling about $20,000, according to police estimates. The total includes the Dec. 28, 2006, vandalism of a campus bus stop and a radio-tv-film department truck windshield that caused about $10,000 worth of damage, TCU Police Sgt. Kelly Ham said.

Police received a tip Tuesday from Crime Stoppers concerning potentially stolen TCU property in the creek behind Colonial Parkway, Ham said.

Ham said the property was located behind the home of one of the suspects. He also said police have connected the events through interviews with the suspects and conversations with their parents. At press time, he did not know the exact number of people involved in the vandalism but said some of the suspects have admitted to the crimes.

“They were basically coming over every weekend after midnight and vandalizing – nuisance types of crimes,” Ham said. “But, as you can see, they elevated over the last year to where they got very, very destructive.”

The earliest reported incident was a January 2004 fire in a construction dumpster behind Amon Carter Stadium, he said. The fire also spread to the side of the football team’s equipment trailer, causing about $8,000 of damage, said Ross Bailey, associate athletics director.

The suspects, Ham said, also admitted to the November 2006 theft of a bicycle from the freshman parking lot and the vandalism of a golf cart in the overflow parking lot.

This past weekend, Ham said, the boys stole concession stand items from the football stadium and poured liquid cleaner on new countertops, causing damage to the surfaces.

Legal charges in the case are pending while the investigation continues, he said, but the families involved are willing to make financial restitution for the damage and have assured police this kind of behavior will not repeat itself.

“These are not gang members; these are average academic students, freshmen at Paschal High School,” Ham said.