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Police seek information on vandalism of squad cars

Update: In an email sent Tuesday morning, police chief Brian Lindquist says police have arrested a suspect. We will have more details when they are available.

August has not been a good month for the Farmington Police Department, at least where squad cars are concerned.

Just before 10 p.m. Sunday night, a young man walked into the parking lot at Farmington’s Law Enforcement Center and smashed windows on five squad cars. That put the squads out of commission for two days, Farmington police chief Brian Lindquist said.

The vandalism happened just three weeks after three police vehicles were damaged during a chase through downtown Farmington.

Police are looking for information about the identity of the young man who threw rocks through the squad car windows. The city of Farmington is offering a $250 reward for information leading to the identification and arrest of the individual, Lindquist said.

The police department has video of the incident, but the video is in black and white, and police are not able to make out the young man’s face. Lindquist describes the individual as a white male, either in his late teens or early 20s. The individual is only wearing shorts in the video.

Surveillance video shows the man in the parking lot for four or five minutes. He entered the lot on foot.

The vandalism resulted in more than $1,000 in damage, Lindquist said. That means the individual now faces felony property damage charges if arrested.

Taking the squads off the road for a few days is an inconvenience, Lindquist said, but that’s not what bothers him about the crime.

“We are always a little more surprised when people are willing to try to do damage to police property or harm police themselves. If they are willing to take a chance attacking a target that is that hard to get to, then they are even less worried about harming civilians or their property,” Lindquist said.

“It takes a lot more oomph to attack a police car than it does to just go down the street and throw a rock through a car window. That boundary was gone. Those are the people we tend to focus on a little harder because they are probably less concerned with their actions.”

Lindquist expects to have the windows replaced and the squads back on the street by Wednensday.

The police department was down three vehicles after a chase through downtown Farmington on Aug. 6. In that incident, an emotionally disturbed individual called 911, threatened to take his own life and harm police officers. The incident ended in Empire township, after police forced the man’s vehicle to stop, which resulted in damage to three police vehicles. Two of those vehicles are back on the streets, Lindquist said. One squad was totaled, but equipment from that squad is being placed in a new vehicle.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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