50 cars damaged by BB guns, paintballs in Rock Hill

jmcfadden@heraldonline.comSeptember 30, 2013 

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    Police ask that anyone who sees the suspected vehicle – a dark, blue, green or black Honda sedan with blue halogen headlights and a loud muffler – to call 911 and give details on which direction the car is traveling.

Bored teenagers looking for a “cheap...child’s thrill” likely fired shots that shattered three windows of Theresa Rhodes’ burgundy 1999 Ford Contour this weekend, she said.

Now, with missing windows and repairs that likely will cost more than she can afford, the Rock Hill woman is trying to decide how she can fix the damage when rent and bills already take up her two paychecks each month, leaving about $100 to feed her brother, herself and her pets.

“There are months...I’m lucky enough to buy groceries,” Rhodes said Monday, two days after she told police someone shot out her car’s windows, showering her trunk, front and back seats and her Deas Street yard with glass.

She’s among 50 people in Rock Hill who reported similar vandalism.

Rock Hill Police this weekend took reports from about 41 residents who found their car windows shattered by BBs, or covered by the splatter of orange paintballs.

The York County Sheriff’s Office also heard from 11 people who live on Cayce Olin Circle, reporting that their cars had been damaged with BB guns, said spokesman Trent Faris. A resident on Farlow Street also reported his car shot into, according to a sheriff’s report.

Police believe the incidents are connected, linking them to reports that someone on Friday shot out the windows of two cars parked at the Walmart on Dave Lyle Boulevard, said Executive Officer Mark Bollinger of the Rock Hill Police Department.

“We’re going to put them all together until we figure them all out,” Bollinger said.

No specific car make or model has been targeted, Bollinger said. “It’s indiscriminate.”

Between Thursday night and early Saturday morning, mostly during the night, shooters fired BBs into cars parked at homes and apartments between Mount Gallant, Celanese and Cherry roads, including Marett Boulevard, Deas Street and Brookstone Way.

By Sunday, the shooters had moved to another part of town, hitting cars parked at homes on Pitts, Frances and Cauthen Streets off Dave Lyle Boulevard between 9 and 11 p.m.

Witnesses described the shooters’ car as a dark blue, green or black Honda with blue halogen headlights and a “very loud muffler.”

Police on Monday took two more reports from car owners, Bollinger said. If caught, the shooters likely will be charged with damage to property.

Jody Banks has no doubt the shooters are teenagers “out joyriding” without “anything to do.”

Early Saturday, he walked out of his Deas Street house to find that his neighbor’s car had been vandalized. He also found a small BB hole in the rear window of his 1992 Ford Ranger pickup.

“It was really a shock,” Banks said, adding that he’ll likely pay $200 for a new window. “I just hope they get caught.”

Across the street, Rhodes used thick plastic to cover the empty frames where her car windows should be. On Monday, she debated the risks of taking a 20-mile drive to her job at the T.J. Maxx Distribution Center in Charlotte.

“I can’t afford to be out” of work, she said.

Like Banks, Rhodes suspects the shooters are teens who don’t understand “the consequences of their actions,” she said.

“Really, what adult is going to do that?” she said. “It’s a cheap thrill. It’s a child’s thrill.”

On Monday, Dorothy Walker, one of the first victims of the BB shootings, wondered why someone shot into her house. In the eight years she’s lived at Amherst Arms apartments off Mount Gallant Road, she said, she hasn’t made any enemies.

So, it baffled her when she came home from work Friday morning and learned someone had fired a BB pellet through the second-floor window of her son’s bedroom.

At about 11 p.m. Thursday, Antonio Walker, 19, said he was preparing to go to bed when he heard the metal BBs hit the window. The pellets only penetrated the first layer of his window pane, leaving four holes and large cracks behind.

“The car was already gone,” when he looked outside, he said. “They used metal BBs,” some of which are still stuck in the window pane.

“I thought it was kids or something. Teenagers, at least.”

MAP KEY: Red- one incident reported; Blue - multiple incidents at one address; Yellow - incidents involving paintball gun instead of BB gun

Jonathan McFadden •  803-329-4082

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