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Douglas County Chief Deputy says parents could be liable for vandalism damages

(PHOTO: WOWT)
Published: Dec. 17, 2021 at 9:57 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - An area in the southwest part of the city has experienced a rash of vandalism the past month and neighbors want it stopped.

Neighbors and law enforcement are concerned that many of these crimes are part of a TikTok challenge where videos of crimes are posted online by those who committed them.

It started with smashing planters and kicking down fences. Vandals trashing Christmas lights and stabbing inflatable decorations. One mailbox was even blown up with an explosive device.

Kaitlyn Xioues is one of the victims.

“It’s pointless. I wonder what you get out of destroying other people’s property.”

“We take these crimes seriously because it is people’s property.”

Douglas County Chief Deputy Wayne Hudson says many of these crimes are captured on Ring cameras giving law enforcement evidence.

“Everybody has these ring cameras right now. So, they are more than likely going to get caught, their license plate will get caught or something on the rings cam so if that does happen, please call us and report it if you have the ring video, we’ll take the ring video and we’ll trace it and we’ll track it down,” said Hudson.

He says once caught, those responsible will be held financially liable for any damage they caused. If they’re minors, that liability falls on the parents.

“Do you really want to be on the hook paying for restitution for something that your child had done? Sit down with your child. You need to explain to your child that what you see on these TikTok videos, these TikTok challenges, all those aren’t the best thing to do. It may be fun to watch them but to do some of those things, they can get you criminally charged, or they can actually get you hurt.”

Hudson says these crimes could escalate because the vandals feel they got away with it. He says it’s important to report these crimes to the appropriate law enforcement agency.

In this part of the city, one side of the block could be covered by Omaha Police and the other by the Douglas County Sheriff.

”If it’s my agency, we’ll put a special attention on that area which will pull my cruisers into that community a little bit more often.”

If these are TikTok challenges, Kaitlyn Xioues says it’s not worth doing.

”If you are watching this, I hope you guys just stop doing it. Stop going in and vandalizing other people’s property.”

Hudson says neighbors can help protect themselves by forming neighborhood watch programs and being alert to which vehicles do and don’t belong in your neighborhood. He says all crimes should be reported regardless of how small.

Correction: There was an error in an earlier version of this story. 6 News regrets the error.

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