GREENWOOD, Ind. – Greenwood police are hoping for tips in a string of recent vandalism cases, while also urging business owners to report any vandalism as soon as it is found on their property.
Property damage done by vandals has become a recurring problem at The Suds drive-in in downtown Greenwood. Owner John Wagner says his diner has been targeted by vandals at least three times in just over a month. Surveillance video from a business next door may have captured images of several juvenile suspects from the most recent incident from July 19.
Video from an adjacent business shows what appears to be five juveniles, three male and two female, running away from The Suds parking lot shortly before the most recent damage to the business was discovered. The damage included a large bear statue toppled onto a fence and an electronic sign ripped off its stand.
A few weeks earlier, June 29, somebody broke glass lighting fixtures in the outdoor dining area, leaving shattered glass behind.
“Last two weeks, lost a pallet jack, storage items found down the street and now this,” the business said in a Facebook post. “Almost forgot, last week someone decided they need three sections of white fence more than we do.”
Greenwood police suspect the five juveniles in the video could also be responsible for recent graffiti found on the brick walls of the historic Polk building, which is near The Suds. Police think the same group could be responsible for spray painted graffiti on several other business buildings along Main Street in downtown Greenwood.
“I have a feeling they’re kind of connected,” said Greenwood Police Officer Kortney Burrello. “Maybe the same kids doing both areas, it is in walking distance.”
Burrellos says the recurring vandalism is working against city efforts to revamp the downtown area and Main Street corridor.
“The city is taking time to clean up these areas, to revitalize these areas,” Burrello said. “We want Greenwood to be a place where people want to come and visit.”
As Greenwood police investigate the collection of cases, they’re encouraging business owners to report any acts of vandalism as soon as they are discovered.
“We’d like to hear about it before it hits social media, so that we can go around to other businesses and see if they have any video or any photos or anything like that,” Burrello said.
Burrello said notifying police is crucial so that any tips that are called in can be added to active investigations.
“We will file charges against these kids and not hesitate,” she said. “But we need businesses to report as soon as it happens, not three or four days later.”
The vandalism is being investigated as the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department continues investigating several cases of graffiti in the Innisbrook neighborhood in the Center Grove area. Sheriff Doug Cox said he does not believe the Center Grove cases are related to the downtown Greenwood cases.