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An 81-year-old accused of being a ‘serial slingshot shooter’ is charged after years of alleged vandalism, police say

<i>Azusa Police Department via CNN Newsource</i><br/>An 81-year-old resident of Azusa
Azusa Police Department via CNN Newsource
An 81-year-old resident of Azusa

By Cindy Von Quednow and Elizabeth Wolfe, CNN

(CNN) — For about a decade, the residents of a Los Angeles County neighborhood have been bedeviled by mysteriously shattered windows, cracked windshields and near misses from tiny projectiles, all allegedly at the hands of an 81-year-old neighbor who police are calling a “serial slingshot shooter.”

The suspect, Prince King, was arrested in Azusa, California, last week after a “lengthy investigation” revealed he had been pestering the community for 9 to 10 years, ultimately causing as much as $10,000 in damage, according to the Azusa Police Department.

After years of sporadic vandalism reports, a sergeant noticed some similarities in the incidents and began to dig deeper.

“What we had here was more than just random acts of vandalism,” police Lt. Robert Chivas told CNN. Investigators determined a person “broke windows, windshields and almost stuck people with ball bearings” over the years, police said in an online post.

King is accused of carrying out the acts and has been charged with five counts of felony vandalism and two counts of misdemeanor vandalism, according to the criminal complaint from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. He has pleaded not guilty.

“During the course of our investigation and surveillance, we did observe Mr. King commit a crime, which was firing a ball bearing from the sling shot,” Chivas said.

Ball bearings and a slingshot were also found in King’s home during a May 23 search that resulted in his arrest, police said.

King has been released from custody on his own recognizance, according to the district attorney’s office. He is scheduled to reappear in court on June 17.

CNN has sought comment from King and the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office, which is representing him.

It is unclear if King knew any of the victims personally, and the motive behind the alleged incidents remains unknown, Chivas said.

Fabiola Madrigal Rodriguez moved to the Azusa neighborhood about eight months ago and noticed one of her garage windows was damaged – a repair that could set her back about $500, she told CNN.

But it wasn’t until police came to her door and began investigating the broken window that she learned of the suspected serial vandal, Rodriguez said.

“I grew concerned. I have children, small children. We like to go outside, play with the dog, and of course you want to be safe,” she said.

When she learned her elderly neighbor had been arrested, she said she “couldn’t believe it.”

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