Victim of Woodburn vandalism spree: ‘Why me?’

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Christine Smith, 86, awoke June 22, 2013, to find her home covered in graffiti. (KOIN 6 News, Ellen Hansen)

WOODBURN, Ore. (KOIN) — Woodburn police are appealing to the public to help track down vandals at a Woodburn retirement community.

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A woman drives a car vandalized during an early-Saturday, June 23, 2013, spray paint spree in a Woodburn retirement community. (KOIN 6 News, Ellen Hansen)

Residents of The Estates Golf and Country Club community said they’re stunned by the extent of the damage. The Estates is a 55 and older community, along streets near West Hayes.

“Why me?” asked Christine Smith, whose home at The Estates Golf and Country Club was covered in spray-painted graffiti. “I’m 86 years old, lost my husband March the 20th, and I have enough problems without having this.”

Police have identified more than 30 cases of vandalism, from graffiti to serious damage to vehicles. Twenty-five homes at The Estates were hit. And the vandals loosened lug nuts on tires and even cut brake lines on parked vehicles.

“When I got inside the truck, and started the motor and stepped on the brakes, the brakes went to the floor,” said Darold Pederson. “And brake fluid was leaking on the ground.”

Pederson said the vandals cut both the front and back brake lines. It’s a potentially deadly “prank” that won’t be cheap to fix.

“I’m guessing in the thousands,” Pederson said.

Authorities believe the vandalism happened between midnight and 6 a.m. Saturday.

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This homeowner talked to KOIN 6 News with his dog Star. The dog, he said, woke him up and he was able to chase two juvenile suspects away — saving a neighbor’s home from further vandalism in a June 22, 2013, vandalism spree at his Woodburn retirement community. (KOIN 6 News, Ellen Hansen)

“I think it’s terrible,” resident Bill Coleman said. “The amount of damage that was done in just one single night is just incredible.”

Coleman said his dog Star woke him up around 1:30 a.m. Saturday. He went outside to catch two juvenile suspects in the act. He said he saw two kids, one tall and skinny and the other one very short.

Both of them looked not over 14 or 15 years old,” Coleman said.

The suspects in Coleman’s yard ran away before police arrived, and Coleman thinks there could be other vandals as well.

Now Woodburn police are looking for leads, and trying to collect evidence.

“Police officers are also asking if anyone locates any spray-paint cans to call the police and not to touch them,” according to a City of Woodburn news release Sunday. “Police officers will respond and take them into evidence.”

A reward is being offered for information that leads to an arrest or arrests in this case, according to the City of Woodburn. Anyone with related information can contact the Woodburn Police Department at 503.982.2345.

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