The person police believe to be responsible for widespread vandalism in the Artist Drive neighborhood overnight is in custody.
Police arrested Lavelle Albert, 18, of Nashville this afternoon, said Chief of Police Ben Seastrom.
His preliminary charges will include 44 counts of criminal mischief and 27 counts of trespassing, Seastrom said. All are misdemeanors.
More information from Albert’s interview with police may be available on Monday, he said.
Twenty-seven victims of tire slashing were counted after police fanned out in the neighborhood starting around 5 a.m., Seastrom said.
He thanks the public for sending in so many tips, which helped lead them to the suspect.
“It’s been a long day,” he said.
He said he hoped residents could rest easier now; some of them had been talking about buying security systems, he said.
Artist and Wells drive neighbors woke up to an unpleasant surprise this morning: More than 40 tires punctured on vehicles at multiple homes, causing thousands of dollars in damage.
Nashville Police counted 43 damaged tires.
“It’s not everyone, and it’s not the entire stretch of Wells and Artist (drives), but it’s a good majority,” Chief of Police Ben Seastrom said.
The punctured tires seem to have been picked at random and occurred between 1 and 4 a.m. this morning, he said.
Wreckers hauling vehicles traveled back and forth constantly for several hours this morning.
Artist Drive resident Jean Honeysett heard from a phone call from her neighbor. “My neighbor said, ‘I hate to wake you up, and I know you’ve got your company there, but be prepared,'” she said.
Three of her tires were slashed and two tires on her daughter’s van were punctured. Her daughter was visiting with five of her seven children from Illinois.
“This is very sad because she has only liability insurance on her truck because it’s old,” Honeysett said. “I have all of these kids in here on vacation, their one vacation of the year, and I can’t take them anywhere.”
They were going to go horseback riding this morning, but not anymore.
Honeysett had parked outside because her garage door wasn’t working after a power outage last week. She had planned to get the door repaired today. She also recently had a problem on her car fixed and just got it back yesterday.
“What I would wish is that this would happen to the people that did it one day. That’s what I wish, just to tell them how bad it is. They have no idea if they were kids. They don’t have any idea,” Honeysett said.
Down the street, Nel Hamilton was looking at two tires punctured on her van in her carport before it was towed away.
She awoke to a message from a concerned neighbor who was on vacation and had heard about the slashings via social media.
“Well, I’m not happy, but it doesn’t help me to be angry about it,” she said.
One of Paul Walker’s two vehicles had two tires slashed. The other was hidden by trees, he said.
“They were very smart about it,” he said, saying the way the damage was done, it “cannot be repaired.
“The thought of someone who has the nerve to inflict such pain in the whole neighborhood is unbelievable,” he said.
Walker went to bed at around 11 p.m. and didn’t notice anything unusual, he said.
He plans to leave his outside lights on tonight.
“There’s evil people out there,” he said.
Seventeen-year-old Molly Austin lives nearby with her mother. She stayed up until 4 a.m. because she kept hearing strange noises.
Three cars at her home had two punctured tires each.
“It’s just selfish to do that to other people,” she said.
Austin awoke to a text and phone call from her neighbor, 17-year-old Hannah Gold. Two of her family’s vehicles had two tires punctured.
Gold called the act cowardly. “They even affected the elderly,” she said.
Almost all of of Nashville’s police officers were out investigating the crimes this morning.
Seastrom said he is relying on the public’s input to help them capture the parties responsible.
“It has to be a couple of different people. It’s just too many cars. One person could, but it would be hours,” he said.
“If somebody saw anybody out last night walking around between those hours, really downtown too, just let us know and we’ll follow up on anything.”
The Nashville Police Department can be reached at 812-988-0341 or Brown County Dispatch at 812-988-6655.
“Just make contact with any law enforcement agency and pass the information,” Seastrom said.