A Plain City resident who claimed he helped stop a string of vandalism incidents voiced his concerns with the Plain City Police Department during Monday’s council meeting.
Shawn Kelly introduced himself to the village council, “I’m the one that caught the vandals that were vandalizing the neighborhood.”
On Aug. 16, Kelly had called police to alert them of three youths who were out well beyond curfew. The three are suspected as being the perpetrators of a string of several vandalisms that had begun occurring on July 3.
Kelly told council his children had been shot with airsoft bullets by some neighborhood juveniles, and $1,000 worth of damage had been done to his property due to the bullet breaking a window and some lanterns.
“I was assured that the police would talk to the parents of the kids involved and I would hear back from the police,” Kelly said. “I’m still waiting to hear back from the police on that.”
“The message was clear to me that the police did not care about my statement,” he added.
Kelly asked Police Chief Jim Hill why it took so long to apprehend the kids, and said he wondered if they would have ever apprehended the kids without his help.
Hill, who was present at the meeting, told Kelly that the force had stepped up its efforts in an attempt to apprehend the perpetrators.
“I’ve understood that there’s been a juvenile problem as of July 3,” Hill said. “We had cameras set up. We had bike and foot patrol set up.”
Kelly told council and Hill that after the July 28 incident, he began sleeping on the front porch. On the nights he was on his porch, Kelly saw no increase in patrolling from Plain City officers.
“If they were on bike or foot, they were invisible,” Kelly said.
Curfew in Plain City is 9 p.m. for children under the age of 16. It’s 11 p.m. for minors over the age of 16. It is permissible for minors to break curfew under some circumstances, like employment.
“Typically, when kids are out and people call, we can catch the kids,” Hill said. “Unfortunately, in this case, most of the incidents were reported after the fact.”
“Believe me, we wanted to find these kids. It was frustrating us that we weren’t able to solve it quickly.”
Hill encouraged residents to call the police as quickly as possible when noticing something amiss. “The public is our extra eyes and ears. We need your help solving things like this,” Hill said.
Callers reporting incidents can remain anonymous if they wish.
The juveniles have not yet been charged with any crimes. Prosecutors are currently investigating the case.
Since Monday, Shawn Kelly met with Chief Hill in private to discuss the matter further.
“I met with Mr. Kelly and we discussed his concerns and some police department operations. I believe that the meeting was very productive and ended on a highly positive note.” Chief Hill said on Friday.
The juveniles apprehended may not be connected to the airsoft incidents on July 28. According to Chief Hill, the three youths are currently not suspects in any incidents involving air guns.
“I would like to encourage any resident that if they see something — say something. Please call the police at (614) 873-4321. We need your extra eyes and ears to help solve crimes,” Hill said.
“There were some follow-up things that were left undone for whatever reason, but I fully support the chief and the Plain City Police Department,” Kelly said in a telephone interview Friday.
In other business Monday evening, Miami Valley Steam Threshers representatives Tony Obert and Asa Schreck spoke with council about this year’s event at Pastime Park.
“It was fairly successful,” Obert said. “Our numbers were up from last year. We didn’t lose any money.”
Schreck wanted to dispel rumors that the Steam Threshers show was looking to move out of Plain City.
“I think we’ve gotten some really good communication with the city this year. We want to be a part of this community,” Schreck said.
In other business,
• Two resolutions passed their third reading unanimously and without discussion. One reassigned the business zoning code, and the other amended the sign code.
• Mayor Sandra Adkins noted that this summer’s Plain City Cruise-In was the last to be run by Julie Weaver. Adkins publicly thanked Weaver for all she’s done for the community.
• Council member Leslie Perkins mentioned the Board of Zoning Appeals met and approved a variance to Agape Christian Church, 249 West Main Street, for a building addition.
• Council took no action on legislation regarding the regulation or banning of leg traps within village limits as Paul Michael La Fayette, village solicitor, was not present for the meeting.
Rob Treynor is a contributing writer for The Madison Press and Plain City Advocate covering Plain City Village Council.