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BB gun damage causing concern in Merrimack

Union Leader Correspondent

March 05. 2013 1:41PM

MERRIMACK -- Police are dealing with a surge in vandalism, and they are asking the public's help in identifying who may be responsible for BB gun damage in the north end of town.

Since Feb. 21, authorities have received six or more complaints of BB damage to local residences or parked vehicles, with two of those incidents occurring this past weekend.

"We have had a little over half a dozen complaints, but about $2,000 worth of damage," said Detective Scott Park of the Merrimack Police Department. "We have been fortunate that a motorist hasn't been struck, or that a pellet hasn't penetrated a home window."

Police believe that the individuals responsible are firing the air guns, or pellet guns, from a moving vehicle.

"Officers are on alert and looking for those responsible," police said in a release.

Some of the damage has occurred to vehicles parked in private driveways on Joppa Road and Bean Road, where the rear windows have been shot out, according to authorities, who said these incidents took place shortly after 2 p.m. once school was dismissed.

Park is asking parents to be vigilant, asking them to keep a close eye on children who have access to BB guns.

"These BB's and the pellets get up to 1,250-feet per second," said Park, adding they can do significant damage to property. "It does get serious, and parents are on the hook for anyone under the age of 18 and the damages."

A majority of the incidents are being reported near the Baboosic Lake Road and Turkey Hill Road area, according to Park.

Penalties associated with the incidents could escalate to felony reckless conduct charges, warned police.

"It is criminal," stressed Park.

About 10 years ago, local police were dealing with a similar vandalism spree involving BB guns. At the time, more than $66,000 in damage occurred, and the individuals responsible for the crimes ended up serving jail time for the offense, said Park.

Investigators say the BB gun incidents are a very dangerous and costly problem for the town and its citizens.

Anyone with information about the crimes is asked to call Park at 424-3774, or use the anonymous crimeline at 424-2424.

"These types of damage reports can result in significant money out of pocket, increase in insurance claims and a great deal of personal inconvenience to the victims," said police. "Those persons apprehended for these crimes will be charged accordingly, and the dollar value and act within itself can quickly be classified as a felony, resulting in stiff fines, restitution to victims, loss of driver's license and possible jail or state prison time."

Crime, law and justice Merrimack

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