2 men cited, linked to 17 of 42 instances of car windows shot out by BB gun in Hartford in less than a month

HARTFORD -- Two men, 19, have been cited and are facing more than $20,000 in fines and restitution in connection with a series of incidents involving residents in Hartford having their car windows shot out by a BB gun, dating back to mid-December, 2017.

According to Hartford police, between Dec. 19, 2017 and Jan. 10, 2018, 42 separate incidents of residents having car windows shot out by a BB gun were reported.

After an extensive investigation, two individuals were cited in connection to 17 of these offenses.

Police said after multiple incidents were reported over a several-day period, saturation patrols were utilized in the areas where damage was occurring.

On Dec. 28, at approximately 1:45 a.m., an officer stopped a vehicle for failure to stop at a stop sign at the intersection of E. Loos St. and Branch St. -- and excessive speed.

The occupants of the vehicle were identified at that time.

The neighborhood in the area where the damage occurred was canvassed -- and it was determined that a homeowner in the area of Cedar St. and E. Loos St. had a private security system with a video camera that had recorded traffic on Cedar St. on the morning of Dec. 28.

Upon reviewing the footage, investigators observed a vehicle which appeared to be the vehicle officers had stopped earlier that night. The vehicle was recorded traveling back and forth on Cedar St. four separate times between 2:13 a.m. and 2:22 a.m.

The following morning, multiple reports of additional windows being shot out in that area were reported.

Investigators also contacted the Hartford Walmart and inquired about any recent purchases of BBs at their store. Upon checking their records, they determined that they had sold a container of 2,400 BBs at approximately 2:03 a.m. on Dec. 19.

Officers reviewed the security camera footage and were able to isolate the specific transaction where the BBs were purchased.

Officers recognized the two suspects making the purchase from previous contacts. Additionally, confirmation was obtained when one of the suspects returned to the checkout line shortly afterwards and purchased cigarettes. When the suspect was carded for that purchase, they provided the clerk with the same birthdate of the individual the officers believed was in the video buying the BBs.

Further review of the footage also determined that these suspects had actually been shoplifting from the store prior to checking out.

They were issued citations for that unrelated offense as well.

Police said the first of the complaints of car windows being damaged by BBs was reported later on Dec. 19, and these individuals were also occupants of the vehicle stopped on Dec. 28.

On Jan. 2 at approximately 11 a.m., an officer and K-9 performed a random drug sniff on cars parked on E. Monroe Ave. in the area of Hartford Union High School.

During those activities, the K-9 indicated on the vehicle that had been stopped on Dec. 28. The vehicle was subsequently searched and items of drug paraphernalia were located in the vehicle.

Citations were issued for that violation.

Also located inside the vehicle was the empty packaging for a revolver style BB Pistol, multiple CO2 cartridges and what detectives described as “too many BBs to count” strewn throughout the vehicle.

The owner of the vehicle was also interviewed that day, but refused to cooperate with the  investigation, police said.

Police said the suspect denied any involvement in these incidents, and claimed that after being stopped on Dec. 28, they had gone to Kwik Trip for cigarettes and then gone straight home. However, these statements were ultimately disproven upon examination of the Kwik Trip video from that evening. It was determined that neither suspect had come into the store after the traffic stop.

According to police, following an investigation, a Town of Erin man, 19, was taken into custody regarding these matters.

He was confronted with the findings of this investigation and could offer no explanation for the evidence that had been obtained -- but continued to deny any involvement in these incidents. He was informed that he would be receiving multiple citations relating to these offenses and he was released to await a future court date. Officers did note that upon his release, he went directly to the home of a Hartford man, 19 -- the other suspect in these incidents. Officers had previously attempted to make contact at the residence, but the Hartford man had not come to the door.

Later that evening, the Hartford man showed up at the police department to speak with  detectives. Police said he also refused to cooperate with this investigation.

He was advised that he would be receiving multiple citations for his involvement in these matters, and he was released to await a future court date.

As a result of this investigation, each suspect has been issued 17 separate citations for the incidents occurring on the nights of Dec. 19 and Dec. 28.

They are currently facing an estimated combined total of $20,278 in fines and restitution.

Anyone with further information regarding the involvement of these or any other individuals in the remaining offenses is encouraged to contact police at (262)673-2600.