Vandals destroy Ocilla storefronts

Vandals destroy Ocilla storefronts
Officer Kunta Johnson
Officer Kunta Johnson
Matt Seale
Matt Seale

OCILLA, GA (WALB) - Ocilla police are offering a $500 reward to help catch vandals causing serious damage to downtown buildings.

Right now, the people responsible are only targeting display windows at vacant buildings. The general consensus is a feeling of frustration from other business owners in town.

Shattered glass and crime tape mark the spot of another vandalism in Ocilla. It's the third such crime in two weeks.

"It cost the business owners, property owners a lot of money," said Officer Kunta Johnson with the Ocilla Police Department.

Police believe the culprits are using a pellet gun to shoot out the windows. Dozens of shots damaged four windows at McDonald Appliance, while windows at This and That Variety and Two Scoops were totally shot out.

Police are doing their best to curb the crimes. "Definitely preventive patrols. Trying to talk with residents in the neighborhood to see if they see anything," said Johnson.

But their limited manpower only goes so far. They say community involvement is imperative in solving these crimes, but they're not the only ones wanting the public's help.

"Watch out for each other and really just help change the culture so that people feel a sense of responsibility for, and respect for, other people's property," said Matt Seale, of The Cafe.

Other businesses are now on guard, hoping the brazen vandals don't set their eyes and target on their business next.

"You're left with the responsibility of fixing it, and in the meantime, you're not focused on your business," said Seale.
"Then you got to get it replaced and it costs a bunch of money to get it replaced," said Vickie Rodgers of the Bargain Barn Auction.

A high cost that these businesses are hoping to avoid, and police are trying to prevent.

Police don't know if it's juveniles or adults doing the vandalism. Nothing has been stolen from any of the businesses, so they believe the vandalism is their only priority.

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