GREENFIELD — Amber Thayer never regretted having a white car until a vandal drove by with a can of black spray paint.
Greenfield police are looking to the public for help cracking a vandalism case that so far has left 17 area residents, including Thayer, with some cleaning to do.
Over the past two weeks, officers have been taking reports of spray-painted cars along Greenfield streets and within area housing additions. They believe the same person or group of people is responsible.
Thayer, 24, was at a friend’s house on Seventh Street, sound asleep, when her 2003 Chevrolet Malibu was vandalized.
“I got woken up about 7 a.m. by a police officer telling me to look at my car,” Thayer said.
Between the time Thayer had gone to bed, around 1 a.m., and the time an officer knocked on the door, the Malibu had gained a long black stripe.
Similar reports have been coming in, mostly from the western and northwestern part of the city, Greenfield police Detective Lt. Randy Ratliff said.
The areas hit hardest include the Waterview and Greenbrook subdivisions, as well as the intersection of Osage and Center streets and Harding and Roosevelt streets.
“We had about 14 or 15 in one night, and then there have been a few additional reported since then,” Ratliff said. “Most of them appear to be actually from a car – just a line spray-painted as the car drove by.”
That makes catching the vandals a bit more complicated than if they’d been on foot.
Police say they’ve received a few tips, including one from a witness who said a dark-colored Ford Taurus with damage to its left side was in the area where some cars were spray-painted.
But so far, nothing has panned out.
Thayer is just thankful her car was not seriously damaged.
Because the paint was found within a few hours, it was still fresh enough to be removed with a little bit of paint thinner.
“I didn’t even really need to report it to my insurance,” she said. “I just got lucky.”
Police are encouraging area residents to keep an eye out and remember that if something doesn’t look right, it probably isn’t.
“It’s their neighborhood, so they know if anything looks suspicious in their own neighborhood,” Detective Sgt. J.D. Fortner said.
Tips can be left anonymously with the police department or sent privately via the department’s Facebook page.