Sheriff’s Department continues to make arrests for vandalism

Published 7:00 am Saturday, June 25, 2016

Pearl River County Sheriff's Department expresses that with the help of the community, vandalism at the park and other areas can be diminished.

Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department expresses that with the help of the community, vandalism at the park and other areas can be diminished.

The Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department is cracking down on people committing vandalism at the new park on Liberty Road, making three arrests in the past two days, said Capt. Joe Quave. The damage reported involved several names and designs being drawn on the walking trail and picnic tables. Names were also written in the concrete near the parking lot, Quave said.

Thursday afternoon, Dallas Wall, 23, and Jasmine Vaughn, 23, were arrested for damaging picnic tables with graffiti and were charged with a misdemeanor malicious mischief, Quave said. “The two suspects carved their names into the table, making the investigation simpler. However, the community has stepped up and is providing us with tips on who might be accountable for the vandalism, which is helping us out tremendously,” said Quave.

The Sheriff’s Department arrested the third suspect, Mary Rushing, 29, with the same charge of misdemeanor malicious mischief Friday morning.

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“People might think this is a petty issue but if it continues, it will become a big issue. We want the parks in the community to be nice places for families to go enjoy their day without looking at a bunch of graffiti and vandalism,” said Quave.

Overall, Quave said the total expense for the vandalism at the park entailed $350 worth of damage, leading to a misdemeanor offense. He said that the maximum punishment for a charge of malicious mischief carries a potential sentence of up to 12 months in jail and a $1,000 fine. The crime becomes a felony once the suspect vandalizes over $1,000 worth of property, Quave said.

Quave said the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department received the first report of vandalism at the park on June 9, while it was still under construction. However, the park was repaired recently.

“It’s shocking to see people vandalizing the park before it was even finished being constructed. After the county invested money to build it, you would think everyone would respect the property. Also, people would suspect this to be a juvenile crime, however it’s adults we are hearing about,” said Quave.

To stop this vandalism from reoccurring, Pearl River County Board of Supervisors President Sandy Kane Smith said, “We are going to do everything in our power to make it a nice place for families to go and enjoy their time.”

Smith said surveillance is currently being used at the park to help prosecute those accountable for future crimes and keep the park safe. Also, Quave said the Sheriff’s Department will continue to patrol the area and be out at the park more often.

“We encourage people that see people vandalizing or littering to call us so we can take care of it and hold those accountable. We have already been getting a bunch of help from the community with submitting tips, which led us to the first three arrests we made. It will literally take a community effort to keep the park and other places clean and nice looking,” said Quave.

The Sheriff’s Department is still investigating the case, suspecting four or five more people were involved, Quave said.

Anyone with information about the acts of vandalism is urged to call the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department at (601) 798-5528 or private message their tip via the Sheriff’s Department’s Facebook page.