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European edition, Thursday, August 30, 2007

BAUMHOLDER, Germany — More than 30 cars were marked up during a recent vandalism spree, causing some $20,000 in damage to vehicles parked in a residential part of Smith Barracks, according to garrison officials.

The vandals key-scratched up to 40 cars along Lime Street sometime between Aug. 17 and Aug. 20, said Lt. Col. Derek R. Rountree, garrison commander.

A $3,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the capture of the culprits.

During a commander’s information briefing Wednesday, Rountree told families that Baumholder’s Criminal Investigation Command, commonly known as CID, was in the midst of its investigation. Rountree also advised parents to keep tabs on their children.

“If your children are involved in something, ultimately you are the one responsible for your child,” Rountree said.

Investigators with CID are re-interviewing victims for information. Authorities also are conducting an investigation with German police to determine if there is a link to similar acts of vandalism outside garrison gates, CID reported.

Maj. Laura Calese of the Staff Judge Advocate Office in Baumholder advised those who intend to file a claim not to make immediate repairs to their cars.

Before victims attempt to file a claim, acts of vandalism must first be reported to the military police. Vandalism claims then will be reported to the claims office and be analyzed to determine if the claim is payable. Estimates for repair should be obtained only after coordinating with claims personnel, according to the legal office.

During the course of the investigation into the damaged cars, a few other acts of vandalism were uncovered involving spray-painted buildings on post, Rountree said.

“That came out as we started peeling back the onion,” he said.

Anyone with information should call the Baumholder MP office at 485-7546.

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John covers U.S. military activities across Europe and Africa. Based in Stuttgart, Germany, he previously worked for newspapers in New Jersey, North Carolina and Maryland. He is a graduate of the University of Delaware.
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