Three teen-agers were arrested Tuesday after a destructive spree that left a trail of at least 41 damaged cars, mailboxes and trash cans through half-a-dozen Ellicott City neighborhoods early Tuesday morning.
The arrests came about three hours after the midnight incidents when one of the victims followed the car the trio was riding in and phoned its New York license tag number to police, said county police spokesman Sgt. Steve Keller.
According to police, the rampage began about 12:40 a.m. Tuesday, when trash cans were smashed with hammers. Residential mailboxes and then car windshields were destroyed, Sergeant Keller said. The damage occurred in the Valley Mede, Dunloggin, Dorsey Hall and Mount Hebron communities.
A resident of the 10100 block of Reed Lane who awoke when his mailbox was destroyed, followed a car and called police, Sergeant Keller said.
Police searching the area about 3 a.m. located the vehicle and made the arrests. A claw hammer was recovered, police said.
"A lot of times people hear noise and don't investigate," Sergeant Keller said.
"We probably wouldn't have had a case if the citizen wouldn't have followed and gotten the car number."
Ethan Geer Aldus, 18, of the 2800 block of Leaf Shade Drive in Ellicott City, was released on $2,500 bond early yesterday.
Two other teen-agers, a 17-year-old from Manlius, N.Y., and a 15-year-old Ellicott City youth, were released into their parents' custody.
All three were charged with destruction of property and related offenses, police said.
Kim Brown, of Dorsey Hall, was one of the many people who encountered a battered vehicle when she was about to leave for work at 8 a.m. Tuesday morning. The front window of her Acura Integra was smashed.
She had to pay the $100 deductible after her insurance company paid for the $400 repair job.
"I am very angry," Ms. Brown said. "My question is, where do the parents think their kids are at 3 a.m. There's no respect for people's property anymore. This has got to stop."