National News

MCSO: 'Bat-swinging vandal' arrested in Waddell vandalism spree

Posted September 7

— Maricopa County Sheriff's deputies have arrested one man and are seeking another following a vandalism spree in the west Valley.

"Sheriff's deputies have made an arrest on a bat-swinging vandal that left 16 vehicles in the Waddell area damaged," said Sgt. Joaquin Enriquez, MCSO Public Information Officer.

Enriquez says 22-year-old Austin Wilmers is charged with criminal damage and defacing property.

Wilmers and an accomplice are suspected of hitting neighborhoods in Waddell in late August, shattering vehicle windows, slicing tires and cutting fuel lines to vehicles.

Damages are said to be approaching $5,000 and counting.

"Wilmers and his accomplice began their destructive spree late on August 27, and continued overnight into August 28," Enriquez says. "They used a baseball bat to smash windows of vehicles parked in front of homes, and a razor blade to slash the tires and cut fuel lines.

MCSO says the suspects then drove through the neighborhoods and threw rocks at cars.

As car alarms began to sound during the spree, witnesses started coming out of their homes to see what was happening.

MCSO says witnesses got a good description of the suspect vehicle, including the license plate number. Some of the crimes were also recorded on surveillance video.

"Investigators found the vehicle near Wilmers' residence with a bat in plain view," says Enriquez.

Enriquez says Wilmers admitted to the vandalism and told investigators he "was upset due to a recent breakup with his girlfriend."

Wilmers wrote a letter of apology to the victims.

He was booked into the Fourth Avenue Jail. But his alleged accomplice is still at large. He is believed to be a relative of Wilmers.

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