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Police: Vandalism sprees are not uncommon

HANFORD — It may have seemed like a rare occurrence when over 20 car windows were smashed in an early-morning vandalism spree a few weeks ago, but officials say this type of incident happens often.

“Every year there’s something,” Hanford Police Lt. Greg Freiner said of vandalism sprees. “At least two to three times a year — and they’re usually related to the same one or two people.”

Officers said the vandalism occurred during a 48-hour period starting Aug. 10 in the northeast and southeast areas of Hanford between the hours of 1 and 3 a.m.

Freiner said the department hasn’t seen any more vandalisms of this kind since. He said this type of vandalism spree will happen all at once and then then nothing will happen again for a long time.

“Some people do something once and they think it’s cool, so they do it again later,” Freiner said, adding he’s seen windshields smashed about five or six times during his career.

Cmdr. Mark Bevens of the Kings County Sheriff’s Office said the department usually deals with vandalism that revolves around another crime, like the stealing of copper wire.

Bevens said the sheriff’s office sees the occasional vehicle vandalisms and spray painters, but nothing like the vandalism spree HPD had to deal with recently.

In December 2016, a similar spree occurred with police reporting over 30 vehicle windows smashed. An investigation into the vandalism led to the arrest of then 18-year-old Alejandro Puga and two juveniles who confessed to the crimes.

Based on evidence obtained at the locations of the recent vehicle vandalisms, officers said they believe the suspects approached the vehicles and used a baseball bat, or similar item, to break the vehicle windows.

According to police, it did not appear anything was removed from the vehicles and these crimes were purely acts of vandalism.

Despite this fact, Freiner still urges people to not leave anything in their cars overnight or even when they leave their cars anywhere for an extended period of time. He said he’s still astonished about what people will leave in their cars.

“People still leave amazingly expensive items in their cars just because they think that when the car is locked, it’s locked,” Freiner said.

Freiner said the repercussions for this type of vandalism then fall on the shoulders of the victims who have to pay for the damage themselves because the culprits are not found, or if the culprits are found, they usually don’t have the money to pay for the damage they caused.

Windshield and window replacements can cost hundreds of dollars, and victims can end up paying even more if any damage was done to the body of the car, Freiner said.

Officers obtained information on a possible suspect vehicle after the incidents, and Freiner said the department is still actively investigating.

If anybody has additional information about who may have been involved in these vandalisms, Freiner said they can anonymously contact the Hanford Police Department at 585-2540.

Classes begin at COS Hanford Center

HANFORD — College classes started Aug. 14 for all College of the Sequoias campus education centers and the different sites are holding welcome week days to let students know about all the different resources and clubs available for them. Wednesday was Hanford's day for the activities.

For student Frank Verni, helping students engage in campus life is a top priority, and he was busy at the Extended Opportunity Program and Services (EOPS) booth at the resource fair Wednesday at the COS Hanford Education Center in the cafeteria.  

“I was president of the EOPS club at the Visalia center, and we’re hoping to start a club in the Hanford branch as well,” said Verni.

At the moment, Hanford has no clubs on campus, but Verni is hoping to change that by starting the first one.

“Some of us don’t have somewhere else to go and sometimes when we get involved with school programs, it allows us to stay focused with school,” said Verni. “We’ve had some students already signed up that seem a little interested in the program and the club as well.”

Others like Victor Ajawara are just glad to be back on campus. “I love being in a school environment,” said Ajawara. “I like the environment here, there are not too much crowds. I see few people here and it makes me more confident.”

Ajawara is a nursing student and hopes to finish this semester and then get into the nursing program so he can become a registered nurse.

Before that, Ajawara used to be a civil engineer for a number of years before he decided he no longer wanted to do that.

“I got my degree in 2007 from Nigeria, but then I came back,” said Ajawara. “I was going to be a medical doctor a while back but for some reason, I said, 'oh let me try engineering.' I tried it, and I enjoyed it, but right now I want to try something new.”

Dominic Ricks is also trying something new by starting college for the first time since graduating from Sierra Pacific High School in June.

“It's a great place to start, so that I can then transfer to another school,” said Ricks. “It’s pretty nice.”

Ricks hopes to transfer to California State University, Fresno, and major in business so that hopefully one day he can start his own business.

He already seems to enjoy college a lot more than high school.

“I like it better. I’m only here for two hours a day and in high school I was there eight hours. When I did sports, I was there for about 12 hours a day,” said Ricks.

Yellow Fever mosquitoes found in Lemoore

LEMOORE — A set of mosquitoes that have the possibility of transmitting serious disease have been found for the second time in Kings County, this time in Lemoore, according to the Kings Mosquito Abatement District.

The district said that seven adult Yellow Fever mosquitoes, known as aedes aegypti, were collected from Lemoore. The mosquito species is capable of transmitting yellow fever, dengue fever and the Zika and chikungunya viruses.

Earlier this month, three adult Yellow Fever mosquitos were collected in Corcoran.

The Kings Mosquito Abatement District recommends residents prevent mosquito breeding by ensuring that pools and spas are properly maintained and emptying containers to get rid of any standing water.

The district also suggests using screens on doors and windows and using insect repellent with effective ingredients such as Deet, Picaridin or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus.

“Because this mosquito prefers to breed in small containers, it is very difficult to control with traditional mosquito control techniques,” Michael Cavanagh, district manager of the Kings Mosquito Abatement District, said. “Residents are encouraged to contact the district if they experience mosquitoes biting during the day and indoors.”

For more information or to report a problem, call the district at 584-3326 or visit The Kings Mosquito Abatement District is located at 10871 Bonney View Lane in Hanford.