GREENVILLE - Greenville’s law enforcement and first responders were busy Tuesday morning as they responded to a rash of calls regarding vehicle fires and break-ins, reported Lieutenant Steve Strick of the Greenville Police Department.
One arrest had been made as of Tuesday afternoon.
It was a busy time for Greenville Police Department, Strick added, because they have to make sure to hit all three reports on each fire, including the initial report, the technical work, and then the arson report.
The final count, as of Tuesday afternoon, was seven vehicles damaged by fire, and at least 12 more broken into. The events began around 4 a.m. There were four vehicles damaged on Euclid, Strick said, another in an alley between Euclid and Central, one on Marion, and another at the corner of Green and Hall Streets.
Carla Kimmel of Hall Street, said her 1982 vintage Chevy pickup was the fourth vehicle that was discovered, and she slept right through it.
“Darke County Sheriff’s Office actually came across the truck in flames,” Kimmel noted. “We got woke up around 4:30 this morning, after crews already had the fire out.”
With just liability insurance on the vehicle, Kimmel said that it won’t be covered, but the truck still runs, she added.
“They were going through the paperwork that was in there, but they didn’t touch the name-brand tools in the back of the truck,” Kimmel said.
The culprits also went through Kimmel’s Chevy Blazer, parked beside her garage, rather than on the street behind the pickup, where she would normally have parked it, she said.
“I’d like to know where these kids’ parents are,” Kimmel said. “Children live what they’re taught.”
Kimmel, who suffered two heart attacks just two weeks ago and will be off work for at least two more weeks, said “things could be worse,” but having her vehicle destroyed in a fire was definitely not helpful for her stress levels.
“Despite this, we still have good neighbors,” she added.
“Times are changing, and I think we’re heading in a bad direction,” Kimmel commented. “It’s frightening how fast things are escalating.”
“We always get through,” she added.
Melissa Phillips of Euclid Avenue, said her car was broken into, but despite catching three cars across the street on fire, the arsonist didn’t torch hers.
“The officer said something ‘spooked’ them,” Phillips explained. Her neighbors across the street weren’t so lucky, she added.
“One guy drove to work with smoldering paper underneath his seat,” she said. “He smelled smoke, but thought that it was from the other two cars that were caught on fire. It’s pretty scary.”
A resident several blocks away said that a co-worker was driving by and saw the vehicle on fire when she stopped to let them know, and they called 911.
“I was at work,” the vehicle’s owner, Teresa Fellers, noted. “I got a text message at about 5:28 a.m.”
“I didn’t hear anything,” said Fellers’ significant other, who was eating breakfast when his co-worker knocked on the door. “I don’t know why someone would do this, though, you know?”
Residents are being urged to lock their car doors, keep their home’s exterior lights on, and contact law enforcement if they notice any suspicious activity, Lt. Strick noted.
Greenville Police Department, with the assistance of the Darke County Sheriff’s Office, has taken one person into custody “regarding a rash (current count is seven) of vehicle fires and at least 12 thefts from vehicles which occurred in the early morning hours,” they reported. The individual was transported to Mercer County Jail.
The investigation is ongoing. Pending charges will be filed with the Darke County Prosecutor’s Office.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Greenville Police Department at 937-548-4150 (option 2), or the Darke County Crime Stoppers tipline at 937-547-1661. Callers may remain anonymous.