SANTA ANA (CNS) - Two more vehicles were damaged this morning by BB or pellet gun fire in Orange County, and another vehicle's window was shattered in Riverside, sending the soaring vandalism tally this past month up to about 100 in the Southland.
No one has been injured in the spate of unsolved window-shattering attacks on the freeways in Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside counties, but the victim count keeps climbing and drivers are worried.
In the latest incidents, one vehicle was damaged about 6 a.m. on the southbound Costa Mesa (55) north of Fourth Street in Santa Ana and another shooting occurred about 7 a.m. on the Santa Ana (5) Freeway in Irvine, said California Highway Patrol Officer John DeMatteo. In the latter incident, the motorist did not call it in until about an hour later, so it's unclear where exactly it happened, he said.
The most recent shooting happened just after 8 a.m. on the westbound Riverside (91) Freeway, blowing out the driver's window.
CHP investigators have implored victims to call authorities right away because it can help locate where and when these cases are happening, using clues found by checking Caltrans cameras along the freeways. The CHP has boosted patrols on local freeways and may be a short distance away and have a better chance of capturing a potential suspect if the call is made right away.
In the past month -- mainly in Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside counties -- the CHP estimates there have been about 100 incidents of cars being damaged by BB or pellet gun fire. It is unclear how many perpetrators there are, whether some are copycats, and what types of cars they're driving, though white sedans were spotted in attacks earlier this month in Corona.
No specific descriptions of the cars or suspects have been provided by the CHP.
“We are taking each of these incidents seriously and actively searching for those responsible,'' CHP Border Division Assistant Chief Donald Goodbrand said last week. “The public should still feel safe while driving their vehicles on our California freeways.''
CHP Officer Florentino Olivera said one CHP officer's cruiser recently sustained a damaged window on the eastbound 91 at the 241 Tollway in the Anaheim Hills that could possibly be part of the crime spree.
“An officer was finishing up an enforcement stop and completing notes on the citation when he heard a noise and the back window was shattered. There were big rigs going by at the same time,'' so it might have been a rock that caused the damage, Olivera said. “We're not sure what shattered the window.''
Anyone with information about the shootings was asked to call the CHP Border Division Investigative Services Unit at 714-288-6336.
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