Projectile pumpkins pummel parked cars

by Town Reminder

Police ask those with info to come forward
By Kristin Will
Staff Write

SOUTH HADLEY – Following a string of reports in which pumpkins were thrown at parked vehicles causing costly damage, South Hadley Police are cautioning residents to be aware and on the lookout.
Local youths driving around neighborhoods are believed to be the culprits, said South Hadley Police Chief David LaBrie. “It’s unfortunate they’re driving around doing this,” he said.
One victim described a possible vehicle in connection to the crime as red and similar to a Hyundai Accent.
The calls first began Wednesday, Oct. 30 when a large pumpkin was thrown through the window of a Charon Terrace resident’s vehicle. The force of the pumpkin tossed from a moving vehicle broke the trunk handle off of the resident’s vehicle, dented the hatchback door and completely shattered the vehicle’s back windshield. Remnants of the pumpkin landed on the vehicle’s dashboard.
“This is not just a prank,” said South Hadley Police Lt. Steven Parentela. The unidentified culprits are potentially facing felony charges for malicious damage to motor vehicles.
The next incidents occurred throughout the most recent weekend. A High Street resident reported to police Friday, Nov. 8 at 8:32 p.m. that a pumpkin had been thrown through her car’s window overnight. On Sunday, Nov. 10 at 1:59 a.m., an Abbey Street resident reported the same scenario, as did a Ridge Road resident at 9:52 a.m. and a Dale Street resident at 4:48 p.m.
Parentela said the majority of the vehicles had been parked on the side of the road.
“These individuals are causing a great deal of damage,” he said. Damages include dented doors, broken windows, dented fenders and broken taillights.
The acts of destruction are random.
Residents should “be aware it’s happening,” said Parentela. Should a resident hear any suspicious noise at night, or notice unusual activity, “call the police,” he said.
Police are hoping a resident might have knowledge of who is behind the acts of malicious damage. LaBrie reminded residents of their anonymous tip line, which does not show Caller ID. Those who use the tip line are not included as witnesses, either.
“Hopefully people with information will let us know,” he said.
To contact the South Hadley Police, call (413) 538-8231. Press 6 for the anonymous tip line.