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Teens arrested for vandalism in Chester also connected to school break-in, police say

Published: Dec. 21, 2021 at 12:33 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 21, 2021 at 11:11 PM EST
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CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WWBT) - Chesterfield Police have identified two teens who they say are connected to a string of vandalism cases in the Chester community this month.

On Dec. 5, Dec. 7 and Dec. 12, police and Chesterfield Fire Marshals were called to investigate several incidents where the property was damaged or set on fire.

On Sunday, Dec. 5, two vehicles belonging to customers were set on fire under cover of darkness at Allen Tire off W. Hundred Road. The owner, Gary Allen, said a week later, on Dec. 12, several customer cars were also heavily damaged on their lot.

Meanwhile, officers also investigated damage at Sibley’s Bar-B-Que along Winfree Stree).

“There was some property behind the business that was damaged,” said Chesterfield Police Lt. Russ Granderson. “It appeared as though the offenders tried to make entry, but they weren’t successful.”

Additionally, investigators said vehicles and several trailers were damaged near Chester Muffler & Brake Center off W. Hundred Road around that time frame.

Police said several security cameras were stolen from various locations in addition to other damage.

“It was upward toward $100,000 in damages,” Granderson added.

However, investigators said what led them to a break in the case was the vandalism at Thomas Dale High School on Dec. 16.

“We were fortunate to have video this time,” Granderson said. “So, we had the suspects on video.”

On Dec. 17, officers received a report the school had been vandalized the night before. Through the investigation, the officer identified two juvenile male suspects – ages 14 and 15 – in that case. One of the students attends the high school.

From there, investigators could connect the pair to the other cases in the area.

“It’s pretty much who we thought it was going to be,” Allen said. “Just some young people with too much time on their hands at Christmas time.”

“Whether you’re a juvenile or adult, if you’re going to commit a crime out here, you’re going to have to pay for it,” Granderson added. “Unfortunately, that’s what is going to happen in this situation here.”

Allen said most of the victims are now working with their insurance companies to handle the damages. However, he’s also worried about how this may affect the people who know the suspects.

“I have sympathy for the parents,” Allen said. “I understand that they’re really good people, and the kids just have a little rowdiness in them.”

Meanwhile, Allen hopes these two suspects will learn from this experience and do better in the future.

“Hopefully, they can get some counseling and move on through this,” he added. “Hopefully, the kids will still have their own Christmas.”

Several juvenile petitions were taken out against the teens, including breaking and entering, vandalism, possession of burglary tools and arson.

Ultimately, a juvenile court judge will determine how the case proceeds.

Police continue to investigate these crimes. Anyone with information should contact police at 804-748-1251 or Crime Solvers at 804-748-0660 or through the P3 app.

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