Waddell vandalism tied to romantic breakup, suspect arrested

Independent Newsmedia

Deputies arrested a man and continue to look for another one following a vandalism spree in Waddell last month.

Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested and charged 22-year-old Austin Todd Wilmers with one count of criminal damage- defacing property, a class 5 felony.

According to MCSO, Mr. Wilmers and an accomplice drove through the Cortessa and White Tank Foothills communities in Waddell, located between Northern and Peoria avenues, west of Loop 303. The two allegedly shattered vehicle windows, sliced tires, and cut fuel lines.

About 16 vehicles were damaged at a cost of $5,000 and counting, according to officials

“This was a random act of vandalism by young men who knowingly destroyed personal property,” Sheriff Paul Penzone said in a release. “MCSO is committed to keeping lives and property safe and we start at the neighborhood level.”

The vandalism happened late on Aug. 27 and continued overnight into Aug. 28. According to MCSO, the suspects used a baseball bat to smash windows of vehicles parked in front of homes and a razor blade to slash tires and cut a fuel line. The suspects then drove through the neighborhoods and threw rocks at cars. One of them stood up on the vehicle to do so, deputies stated.

MCSO deputies continue to search for a suspect after a string of vandalism attempts in Waddell. MCSO arrested one suspect. (Photo courtesy MCSO)

Witnesses provided descriptions of the vehicle, including its license plate number. Video surveillance also recorded it. Investigators later found the vehicle near Mr. Wilmers’ residence with a ball bat in plain view.

Detectives interviewed Mr. Wilmers, during which he admitted to the crimes, saying he was upset by a recent breakup with his girlfriend. He wrote a letter of apology to the victims saying in part “…I am sorry that because of my actions, your lives are now affected financially…”

Mr. Wilmers was booked into the 4th Avenue Jail on Sept. 4. His partner in this incident is believed to be a relative and has not been arrested, according to MCSO.

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