The “decoy cars” — marked police cars meant to deter crime in the area — were parked in what was probably one of the safest possible places: near a police substation.
That didn’t stop someone from vandalizing them.
Four young men were arrested last week after police said they caused roughly $6,800 in damages last month to two police cars in front of a Hollywood Police Department substation at Driftwood Recreational Center.
Both cars had smashed-in windows and plenty of dents. One car had shoe prints on its hood, the other, melted candy and ash from the firecracker that was set off on top of it.
Johnathan Berroa and Zachary Novak, both 18, along with two others whose identities were not released because they’re juveniles, were arrested on charges of felony vandalism.
“We think it’s an isolated incident, but we are taking it seriously,” said Hollywood police officer Christian Lata.
Recent acts of vandalism that have targeted police and fire department vehicles have caused the police department to focus its attention on crimes like these, he said.
Officers were called to the 3000 block of North 69th Way around 1 a.m. July 23, after someone reported seeing four males vandalizing the police cars, police said.
The police department was able to catch three of the suspects on Aug. 4 by using surveillance camera footage and social media. On the next day, the fourth suspect was arrested.