Three teenagers said they got the idea to shoot up cars and business windows with BB gun pellets late last month while they drove around the city shooting street signs, according to court records released Monday.
Cody Vanguilder, 17, of West Rutland, told police he and two friends were driving around the city in a white Buick on the night of Jan. 22 shooting signs when one missed and hit a car window, causing it to break, according to the affidavit.
“That’s where they got the idea to shoot out car windows,” Detective Sgt. Kevin Stevens wrote in an affidavit. “They started on Dorr Drive.”
The other teenagers in the car were Cade Bowen, 17, of Castleton, and Jacob Eells, 18, of West Rutland, who was driving, the affidavit said. Bowen and Vanguilder were in the back seat, according to the affidavit, shooting out the window.
Vanguilder, Bowen and Eells appeared in criminal court Monday morning where they pleaded innocent to 20 charges of unlawful mischief — three felonies and 17 misdemeanors — and one misdemeanor charge of reckless endangerment. If convicted, they face up to 33 years in prison.
Vanguilder said in a police recording: “I have done this before, but I never got caught,” according to court records.
According to the affidavit, the teenagers made several trips into Rutland City during a three-day period shooting car windows and business windows from Eells’ car. They damaged more than 100 vehicles, businesses and homes causing more than $55,000 in damages, police said.
Eells told police that over the three days he was driving the car — and shooting from the front seat — while his friends shot randomly from the back seat. At one point Jan. 23, only he and Vanguilder traveled into Rutland City and shot several windows on their way to hockey game, police said.
“If you set it (the BB gun) on the door, you are low enough so you don’t have to aim, you’re at the same height,” Vanguilder told police.
Police received more than 100 complaints of vandalism from eyewitnesses and surveillance cameras between Jan. 22 and Jan. 24. In a video obtained from Gill’s Delicatessen on Strongs Avenue, police said they saw a white colored sedan traveling north that slowed down in front of the deli before the business’ windows were hit, the affidavit said.
Police said they were able to connect the vandalism to the teenagers after Bowen had been found with a BB gun at West Rutland High School on Jan. 24.
Police identified the vehicle’s owner — the father of one of the teens — and were able to search the vehicle. They found two long barreled BB gun rifles, a container of 2,400 BBs and a lone BB in the passenger seat.
According to court records, Bowen told police that “they all rode around all night with no intentions of violence but to get an adrenaline rush.”
The streets targeted included Jackson, Killington and Cramton avenues, along with Pine, Temple, Lafayette, Lincoln, Baxter and Maple streets.
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