Reward doubled for tips in vandalism spree

A mailbox was vandalized recently in a spree that included vulgar and sexually explicit images and words scratched and spray-painted into vehicles and houses in Mendota Heights. A $500 is being offered for information. (Submitted photo)

A local group recently increased the reward offered for information leading to the arrest and charging of the vandals who recently spray-painted racial slurs, sexual images and expletives on vehicles, homes and mailboxes around Mendota Heights.

Overnight June 26-27 and June 30-July 1, several homes and cars were vandalized with spray paint and some vehicles were keyed in the area of Twin Circle and Hunter Lane, and north to Diane Road. Residents reported 14 different complaints of graffiti, according to Police Chief Mike Aschenbrener.

Since then, there’s been a couple of minor vandalism incidents, such as portable outhouses being tipped over, which appear to have been perpetrated by juveniles.

He said most incidents have been restricted to a particular area, suggesting it’s all within walking distance for someone.

He said the sloppy, boorish spray-painting appeared to be directed at the victims whose homes and vehicles were damaged; it didn’t rise to the level of skill in tagging often associated with gang activity.

“This is personal,” he said. “This is a slap in somebody’s face when they’re sleeping. It’s not just graffiti. It’s directed at people.”

To help find and charge any suspects, the Mendota Heights Community Criminal Apprehension Fund is putting up $1,000, encouraging community members to bring forth information by calling a 24-hour tip line at 651-255-1170 or the Mendota Heights Police Department at 651-452-1366.

The MHCCAF is funded through private donations, supplying reward money for certain crimes in the city.

More information is available at the Northern Dakota County Crime Blog, and

“We would really like to put an end to this and get some hurt feelings fixed as quickly as we possible can,” Aschenbrener said.

— Kaitlyn Roby


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