Officials urge Brazil residents to be on the alert for suspicious activity in their neighborhoods due to recent mischief, vandalism, theft and property damage.
While an issue in every community, the Brazil City Police Department has responded to numerous vandalism/criminal mischief reports by elusive suspects around the city this summer. However, early Friday morning, at least one BCPD patrolman got close enough to hear the perpetrators.
"Our officers could hear someone breaking glass," BCPD Chief Dave Archer told The Brazil Times. "But they were unable to locate the suspects."
As a result of the early morning mischief, victims living in a radius from Colfax Street east to State Road 59 and from Hendrix Street south to Blaine Street reported their homes damaged, vehicle windows broken out and tires slashed.
Although details about the investigation were limited as of press time, Archer confirmed a vehicle was also stolen sometime overnight from a residence located in the 1300 block of North Meridian Street.
Vandalism is mischievous acts -- like soaping windows or toilet papering a house -- that do not cause damage, while acts that cause property damage -- such as spray painting vehicles, breaking windows or smashing mailboxes -- are classified as criminal mischief.
A charge of criminal trespass may also be filed if a person commits either vandalism or criminal mischief on the property of the victim, and theft can be charged if a suspect takes personal property during the act.
Although law enforcement officers patrol the streets nightly, officials know their presence will not stop a person who is determined to commit a criminal act.
"People need to be aware of their surroundings," Archer said. "It would be great to have an officer posted on every city street, but we can't. That's where the public can be our eyes and ears."
Many people walk around the city for various reasons, but the police chief said not everyone walking around at night is up to no good.
"If someone's walking down the alley, that doesn't necessarily need reported. But, if they're hiding in the bushes, avoiding lighted areas, looking in windows or inside cars that is suspicious and should be reported," Archer said, adding minor vandalism acts should also be reported. "We still like to know what is happening in the area. The information could prove valuable in another case."
To report suspicious activity or make vandalism/criminal mischief report in Brazil city limits, contact the Brazil City Police Department at 446-2211. County residents need to contact the Clay County Sheriff's Department at 446-2535.