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Vandalism in more ways than one – Vehicular

Another case involving vehicular vandalism occurred in the university area, but this time the person responsible for the crime isn’t the only unanswered question.
Seven vehicles were vandalized at Fontana Hall Monday night, according to Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman, Debbie Carter. But the director of leasing and marketing at Fontana Hall, Peter Flagherty said the incident occurred before that.
“You couldn’t say what night it happened; it could have been during the weekend,” Flagherty said. “I know the night before there was a rash (of incidents) all over the area.”
Flagherty said he was aware of the incident Monday morning and doesn’t recall seven vehicles being damaged.
“I don’t know the exact number,” Flagherty said.
During a call Monday afternoon to Hillsborough County Sheriff’s office, public information officer Lt. Rod Reder said he had not received a report of any vandalism at Fontana Hall, which is located at the corner of East Fletcher Avenue and 42nd Street.
But an employee at Fontana Hall’s leasing office said Monday evening he was aware the vandalism had occurred. Flagherty was not available for comment Monday evening.
Carter said she received the incident report Tuesday morning, and it stated windows were broken on the seven vehicles in the residence hall’s parking lot.
“There was stolen stereos and stereo equipment,” Carter said. “The detective has no suspects at this point.”
The incident occurred within less than a week from a similar incident on USF’s campus.
Seven vehicles were vandalized in the parking lot of Magnolia Apartments sometime between Wednesday night and Thursday morning, according to Sgt. Mike Klingebiel, spokesman for University Police.
Klingebiel said Monday vehicular vandalism has become an ongoing “trend” in the university area.
Carter said she was not aware of any other vandalism cases in the area or whether it has been a recent problem at apartment complexes near Fletcher.
But Flagherty said such incidents of vandalism are not uncommon in the area.
According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Web site, more than $2.5 million was recovered in stolen property and vehicles during the year 2000 in the District 1 area, which includes East Fowler and Fletcher avenues.
“It’s definitely a trend. As hard as you try to thwart this, it seems people are dead set on getting what they want to get their hands on,” Flagherty said. “I’m sure radio theft has to be huge.”
Freshman Steven Koss, a resident at Fontana Hall, said his friend’s Jeep was vandalized and that he didn’t hear about the incident until today.
Only three vehicles in the parking lot Tuesday appeared to have been damaged.
The driver’s windows on a Honda Civic and Chevrolet Cavalier were missing as was the passenger’s window of a Jeep Grand Cherokee.
“My friend’s CD player got stolen,” Koss said. “He said (deputies) filed a report about it.”
Koss said this was the only vandalism case he has heard of happening this year at Fontana Hall.
Fontana Hall and Breckenridge are part of the College Park Communities, which generally lease to college students.
Flagherty said both have a 24-hour staff, which patrols the parking lots to look for suspicious activity.
“Whoever is on duty walks out in the area about four or five times and does a walk through,” Flagherty said. “You can have someone out during the whole duty … but I don’t want to expose anyone to that, anything can go wrong.”