Witnessed A Vandalism CLOSE-UP (UPDATE Post# 116)

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by Laurajean, Jul 28, 2011.

  1. Laurajean

    Laurajean Slightly Touched

    Apr 2, 2010
    New Hampshire
    So I'm a night owl. It was 3:00am, I was about to go to bed, but decided to walk down and check the mail instead. I live on a remote dirt road and the mailboxes are all in a row at the end of my road, quite a ways down. I've gone down to the mailbox many times at weird hours of the night, so I just grabbed my flashlight and headed down. The only streetlight is at the next road, near the mailboxes, my dirt road is totally dark. I get to the mailboxes and as I approach I see two of them off the stand and laying in the middle of the road. In just a few seconds, I see those mailboxes, and glance up and see that mine is still there, but the door is off and I have tons of mail sitting there (haven't walked down in a couple of days). I realize someone vandalized them and as I approach I hear a truck coming down my road fast, and I can hear several guy's voices loud and boisterous. I'm not sure what through my head, if it was fear, intuition, common sense or what, but I jumped and hid behind the rock wall JUST behind the row of mailboxes. I guess it was mainly fear, because NO ONE is on my road at 3:00am and I could just tell it was trouble, and I'm alone and unarmed.

    So I dive behind the rock wall, losing one of my flip flops in the process and hide. Not a great hiding spot by the way, I could not have been more obvious, ducking behind a one foot high wall. [​IMG] The truck pulls right up to the mailboxes and stops in the middle of the road. I immediately realized it was whoever just vandalized the boxes coming back. It was four young guys, and three of them jump out of the truck and they all have some sort of bats, 2 x4's, etc. I have to admit I was scared. Even though I knew what they were doing, I thought, crap, they're going to see me, then what? I don't know if they're just kids who would be scared off, or if they'd do something to me. So I'm crouched down, literally not even 4 feet from the boxes (I had shut my flashlight off). The kids start bashing the mailboxes, I mean BAD. Beating the crap out of them, shattering them, crushing them, pieces are flying at landing in my hair and hitting my face. Somehow they were so absorbed in what they were doing that they miraculously didn't see me. They were there for at least a several minutes, being sure to thoroughly destroy every single mailbox. The driver in the truck is saying, "Okay, that's good, get in!" and the other three are saying "No, get that one dude!" and "Aw, we're getting these ones good", etc. FINALLY they are satisfied with their destruction and pull off. I jumped up immediately. If they looked back at all they would have seen me RIGHT there. They were courteous enough to have license plate lights, so I could clearly see the plate. I ran all the way back up my road, repeating the plate # over and over, even stopping briefly to write it in the sand, and called the police. Gave them the description of the truck, the plate # and he said that an officer was on the way. Then while still on the phone with me an officer called in and said she had pulled them over. Just up the road from my boxes, there's a couple with chickens and they sell eggs out of a nice little fridge that they keep at the side of the road. Apparently they bashed the heck out of that too, destroying it.

    So now that I know they've been stopped, I walked back down to the mailboxes to pick up my mail which was scattered in the road. It was unbelievable. Mail was everywhere, pieces of mailboxes everywhere, mangled. I walked around with my flashlight gathering my mail and all my neighbors mail and putting in a bag. Then I moved all the boxes and big pieces out of the road. There were probably 10 mailboxes on the stand and not a single one was left intact. When I got back I called the station to see if they were planning on coming out for a statement (I had given my name and address when I called the first time). The officer who pulled them over said she wasn't coming out tonight because she figured I'd be sleeping (yeah right!). So she filled me in, said it was three 18 year olds and a 14 year old. This is a very small town, everyone knows everyone (except for me because I'm new to this town). So she explains that it's not "the usual kids", [​IMG] and it's kids who have never been in trouble before. Apparently their parents were called and allowed to pick them up. She said the parents were so livid that she thinks the kids did not want to go home. Then she says she has a question that she wants me to sleep on, and that she's going to ask this question to the other victims (my neighbors) as well. She says the kids are coming out in the morning to replace the mailboxes. She wants to know if they replace the mailboxes, is that good enough instead of pressing charges, since they have no history of trouble. Or, if that's not good enough, they can face a judge and possibly felony charges since it's U.S. Government property.

    I'm thinking I definitely want them to replace the darn boxes, of course. But instead of going to court and having this on their record? I'm honestly not sure how I feel about that. On one hand I remember being a kid, although I never vandalized anything. She says they were all very scared. So maybe they learned their lesson. On the other hand, if they get off that easy, then what? I mean, that's not a lot of accountability just replacing boxes. Maybe for the 14 year old, but what about the other three who are 18? I don't know... she wants me to call the station tomorrow and let her know.

    All I know is it was pretty darn scary witnessing it from just a few feet away; I still can't believe they didn't see me. I know it sounds petty, just vandalizing mailboxes, but when you got four guys in a truck with bats and 2 x 4's at 3:00am a couple feet away, destroying everything, and I'm "hiding" in plain sight, alone, it's scary. I didn't know who they were, or what they might be capable of. Anyway, now it's after five and I really need sleep. I'd love some input on what you guys think: replacing the boxes good enough? Or press for court/legal trouble that will give them a record?

    PS: As an afterthought, now that I know they were just kids, wouldn't it have been hysterical if I just stood up? Would have probably scared the living daylight out of them. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2011

  2. MNShepherdess

    MNShepherdess Chirping

    Jun 11, 2011
    OH WOW! You are one brave cookie! I do hope those kids learned their lesson, but I don't envy you at all in that decision. You're right to have hidden though, you just don't know nowadays. Kinda makes you wish there was somewhere inbetween...should it really be a felony charge that will cause them to not be able to get a decent job for the rest of their life? I don't think so, but I also don't think they should go unpunished. Maybe some community service? A LOT of community service. If I would have been their parents though, I think I would have left them in jail overnight, to help scare them straight ;-) Good luck with your decision, keep us updated [​IMG]

  3. country lady

    country lady Songster

    Nov 8, 2008
    NW Tennessee
    Apparently, vandalizing mailboxes is common. Where are the parents of a 14 year old out at 3 a.m.? I had a pretty Christmas decoration stolen one year and I was livid. I think these kids need a good dose of reality, though. Actually, I believe public humiliation would be in order but they certainly need some sort of community service at the very least. How do you know this was a one time, first time crime for them? It's refreshing enough that you caught them in the act. I would suggest community service in a nursing home or pet rescue mission. IMO, they need a strong dose of reality and a swift kick in the rear end!
  4. Judy

    Judy Crowing Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    A friend and neighbor happened to see a teen take a baseball bat to our mailboxes and followed him to see where he went home; he knew the parents, who were furious. The kid and his parents replaced the boxes; they were not very handy and this took 2 or 3 trips to town to get it done. The kid, I suppose around 15, looked like he wanted to crawl under the road, and kept saying "yes, sir." I was asked to come to the mailboxes so he could apologize to me. We did not involve the police. I share land with my son and his family; this was arranged between him and his friend, the witness. I had no problem with it, though. Just my experience.

    Your situation was more violent and several were 18, so it's not really the same, I realize. But sometimes when a kid (18 is still a kid to me) realizes how narrowly he escaped a record and probably jail time, it is enough to straighten them out. I do know of two cases where this happened, and the "kids" now have kids of their own and are good citizens. I don't have much faith that "putting them in the system" is likely to have a beneficial outcome for them.
  5. cuntryuppiechick

    cuntryuppiechick Songster

    Apr 29, 2011
    Just replacing the mailboxes is not enough. I'm around the 18-24 year old crowd enough to know they are going to be proud of getting away with so little and will be ramped up to do it again. Minimally they need to do the mailboxes and some additional labor for the people affected. Please at lease have a mace keychain for your nightly strolls or a remote control panic button. I have both or I carry my small handgun.

  6. MeatKing

    MeatKing Songster

    I wouldn't press charges, I would like a apolgy though. I'm sure the parents are gonna kick his butt. I would also like to know the kids who did this will get a job and pay for it, not just Mom and Dad bailing them out. Make them do communtiy service or tell them you want to see X amount of hrs, of vollentering for food bank or something.

    I'm really glad your ok, I would've hid too, Things can escalate so quickly, you did the right thing by trying to hid.
  7. annie3001

    annie3001 My Girls

    Jun 11, 2009
    intersting story. so glad your safe. being their age of 18 and all... it is quite scary. we are having such violent times with some young ones, an example must be taught. yes i feel perhaps jail time might be needed. what is going thru the mind of someone like this? you have seen it up front. how scary. it could have been a gun or doing harm to another human/animal.
    i do not trust many people. its unforutante. (early morning sorry for the spelling ) so you did the right thing on hiding out.

    do what you think is best imo. [​IMG]
  8. chickadiddle

    chickadiddle In the Brooder

    Apr 2, 2010
    Quote:I agree 100% with THIS also - Been there,done that in my youth
  9. bakerjw

    bakerjw Songster

    Apr 14, 2010
    Johnson City, Tn
    Kids do stupid things. I did stupid things and should have been beat mercilessly for some of them. IMHO I would say press charges.

    There needs to be a paper trail. Jared Loughner out in Arizona had been in a lot of trouble through the years and the police kept assuring people that filed complaints that he was under control. I'm sure the fact that he had a close relative working for the county didn't have any bearing on the matter. Had any of those people who were convinced that he was not a threat followed through he may have either gotten the help he needed or at least had enough of a record to raise a red flag during a background check.

    I'm not saying that any of these kids are psychotic murderers but oftentimes things are allowed to slide because they're "good kids". Then they slide long enough that they finally do cross the line. As for yourself. It was 3:00AM and you were frightened. Had they spotted you would they have run off? Freaked out and beaten you?

    It's your call but I don't always buy the "good kids" line.

    And if you're going out at those hours take a shotgun or handgun just in case.

  10. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    I don't know if these are good kids out for kicks or if they are confirmed troublemakers. Some of our leading kids in high school (student body president, eventual valedictorian) blew up some mail boxes one night with M-80's. The next day they were called from class to go to the principals office. These kids, being the top kids of the school, thought they were up for some kind of award. Instead the FBI was waiting to talk to them. They were let go without a record, but they were certainly shaken up. Their parents, being businessmen and well respected citizens in a small town, were not amused. Those were not bad kids, just kids. I don't know what kind of kids the ones that did that are.

    It is a small town. That officer has probably seen this type of thing before and it has probably been handled unofficially before. I'm not disillusional enough to think that just because it is a small town that the kids are like Opie on the Andy Griffin show. I grew up in a small town. Several small town kids rightly ended up in jail, though the ones with the M-80's did not.

    It is a big decision that may affect those kids for the rest of their lives. Destroying mail boxes is a serious federal offense. I don't know what the legal implications are. I imagine if you press charges they will be let go with a warning after restitution, maybe some community service and probation. I doubt they would see any time in jail, but it will be a criminal mark on their record. I also doubt the local law officials are going to pursue this very hard unless they are kids that they want to get off the street. Like kids in the local drug trade. I know the local law officials can be relatives or good friends with those kids' parents, in a small town especially, and be trying to get them off. But most law enforcement officials are pretty honest and know how the system works.

    Ideally, you would like to find out who they are and talk to their minister, a school teacher, someone who knows what kind of kids they are, before you make your decision. You can do that if you wish and tell the officer you want to find out for yourself what kind of kids these are before you decide. It is too important a decision to make on very little evidence. But if a decent cop in a small town said these were not the bad kids, I'd not press charges if proper restitution were made. Cops in small towns do know who the bad kids are.

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