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Rash of vandalism puts Amity residents, police on high alert

By Ryan Hughes, Reporter, RHughes@wfmz.com
Published On: Jul 16 2013 04:38:03 PM CDT
Updated On: Jul 16 2013 04:54:36 PM CDT

Police and community watch groups in Amity Twp., Berks Co., are on high alert after a rash of vandalism in the township.

AMITY TWP., Pa. -

Police and community watch groups in Amity Twp., Berks Co., are on high alert after a rash of vandalism in the township.

Residents said they fear the acts are growing more serious, so now they're pulling out all the stops to catch those responsible.

Fear and frustration have mounted after trash cans, mailboxes and bottle rockets were set on fire.

"It's really scary because they're using some type of accelerant to burn the mailboxes, and it doesn't matter if they are wooden or plastic," said Tracey Walter, who is part of the neighborhood's crime watch.

Many mailboxes have already been replaced, but you could still see burn marks on the curb and in the street in the 200 block of Loyalsock Drive.

A few streets over, a driveway was damaged when neighbors said a trash can was set on fire only a few feet from the home's gas meter.

"They're painting really racist things on some of the cars and garages of people's houses. It's just seems something is not right," said Walter.

According to police, the vandalism spree started about a month-and-a-half ago. Nearly 20 homes have been hit, and eight of them happened in the past week in the Greenbriar and Westridge developments.

The vandals strike between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. and use the cover of darkness for their escape, but now the chief of police said he is concerned someone could get seriously hurt.

"My biggest fear and the fear of the residents is that one of these fires is going to catch a structure," said Chief Kent Shuebrook, Amity Twp. Police Dept.

Shuebrook said he believes teenagers are behind the criminal activity. The neighborhood crime watch has sounded the alarm, and vowed to keep patrols out every night until the vandals are caught.

"We're going to be all vigilant, we're going to make sure we check on each other," said Joel Miranto, who lives in the neighborhood.

The neighborhood has now banded together to let the vandals know their child's play isn't funny and needs to stop.

Anyone with information involving the vandalism cases can call Crime Alert Berks County. The toll-free number is 877-373-9913.