BROWNSBURG, Ind. – After several residents have reported their property struck by paintballs, the Brownsburg Police Department is warning that it’s not an innocent game.
“It can cause a lot of damage, not only property damage but somebody could be severely injured,” said Corporal Chris Nelson, Public Information Officer for the Brownsburg Police Dept.
“There have been cases where people have been hit in the face, hit in the eye. You can lose an eye.”
“Most importantly, the individuals responsible for this don’t understand the severe consequences that could be associated with this,” said Nelson.
Nelson warned this is not a harmless prank, it’s a crime.
“Not only could somebody be looking at a criminal mischief charge for damage or destruction of other people’s property,” he said, “if somebody happens to be injured under these circumstances, it could be aggravated battery. It could be criminal recklessness, depending on what level of injury is caused to the person.”
“There could be serious felonious charges associated with this type of behavior.”
Charles Thomas said his front door to his house and his car were both struck Wednesday around 9 p.m.
“My sons were both downstairs and of course when it went off they thought it was a gunshot,” Thomas shared.
“I came downstairs, looked out the door, looked down the street, didn’t see anything,” he said. “My wife thought maybe it was fireworks or whatever. We were trying to put our heads together.”
“We didn’t realize it until the kids actually came home the next day from school and saw it on the door, because when they leave to catch the bus it’s usually dark out.”
Thomas headed to social media Thursday night to warn his neighbors and the Brownsburg community about the recent act of vandalism when he learned he wasn’t alone.
“I said, this is really weird for this to happen in Brownsburg and then when I posted it, I didn’t realize we were gonna have so many responses about other people in the area.”
Colton DeWitt was driving around 8:30 Wednesday night, approximately 30 minutes before Thomas said his home was struck when something hit his car from a passing vehicle.
“I heard a thump,” he said, initially thinking his car door may have been partially opened and slammed shut.
When he got home, he realized what had happened. “I get out of my car, shut my door and then there’s the blue splat and I’m like oh, ‘I got hit by a paintball.'”
On dash camera video from DeWitt’s car, you can hear the thud from when it made impact.
He said he is thankful his window was not down at the time of the incident and that no innocent bystanders were struck by the paintball he believes was shot from a car passing him on the opposite side of the road.
The estimated damage to DeWitt’s car is about $200. “It didn’t just wipe off, you can’t wipe off a dent,” he said.
“It is concerning, for sure,” said DeWitt. “It can take your eye out, it’s not cool.”
“People do lose their eyes, pets have been damaged from this kind of stuff too as well,” Thomas told CBS4 News.
“Situations like that can have catastrophic consequences that somebody may think’s a joke or funny and it’s absolutely not,” explained Nelson. “We take situations like this very seriously because of the potential harm that can come about to the public.”
“If you see anything, or if you’re a victim — if it happened right away call 911. If it’s something you don’t observe until the following day, call our non-emergency number to make a report,” Nelson said.
“We want to get these individuals identified and hold them accountable for their actions.”