A recent vandalism spree in Highlands County apparently was solved quickly by good police work and cooperation between agencies. The destructive episode also shows the value of video monitoring and itís hoped that more businesses install the devices to help solve crimes that happen in our area.
More than 70 windows were shot out or damaged several weeks ago throughout Highlands County when a BB gun or something like it was used to randomly target businesses. Two adults and a juvenile were arrested in connection with the incidents. Law enforcement has said the three have admitted their guilt when questioned.
The Sebring Police Department, Lake Placid Police Department and the Highlands County Sheriffís Office worked closely to solve the case. They checked leads and spent hours going through any videotape that might have captured the image of the culprits.
Footage from Wal-Mart showed the three suspects in a silver van and even caught images of at least one of them stealing inside the store.
Everyone agrees that not a high level of sophistication was used by the vandals. Vandalizing such a wide area of places left suspects open to being seen by someone or some video camera. Weíre just glad the footage was there.
In more urban areas a lot more video surveillance is used. In rural areas, such as Highlands County, that isnít always the case.
It seems like more and more crimes across the country are being caught on film and often lead to the arrest of those responsible. Without the video footage, solving some of these crimes is much more difficult.
If the suspects are guilty of the thousands of dollars in damages done throughout the area then we hope restitution to the affected businesses is part of the sentencing thatís to come. Local CRAs have already stepped up to help in some areas.
In the meantime, we hope this convinces more businesses and even local governments the value of video surveillance. Itís making a difference in solving crimes, and who knows how many people decide itís just too risky and never even try.
As for local law enforcement, they did great job figuring this out in a timely manner. Working together is what our police and sheriffís office do best, and they showed that once again.