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Farmington police arrest squad-car vandal

A 25-year-old Farmington man has been arrested for breaking windows on five police squad cars.

Police arrested the man after he turned himself in Monday night. The Farmington resident now faces one count of first degree criminal damage to property for his actions Sunday night.

According to Farmington police chief Brian Lindquist, the man turned himself in around 8:15 p.m. Monday, after news of his alleged vandalism hit the city of Farmington's Facebook page and local news websites.

The man has not been charged yet, but is being held at the Dakota County jail in Hastings, pending formal charges.

According to Lindquist, the young man walked into the parking lot at Farmington's Law Enforcement Center just before 10 p.m. Sunday night, and smashed windows on five squad cars. That put the squads out of commission for two days.

August has not been a very good month for the Farmington Police Department where squad cars are concerned. The vandalism happened just three weeks after three police vehicles were damaged during a chase through downtown Farmington.

Police posted the incident on the city of Farmington's Facebook page, in hopes of identifying the individual who threw rocks through the squad car windows. Police had video of the event, Lindquist said.

The 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.

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."

The suspect gave several statements to police when he turned himself in, Lindquist said. Police are still investigating the validity of those statements. The suspect also admitted he was intoxicated when he broke the windows, he added.

Lindquist expected 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.

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

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