Neighborhood vigilance and a K-9 cop's keen eye led to the arrests Monday night of three juveniles believed responsible for vandalizing more than 140 vehicles in south Minneapolis.
The suspects -- boys ages 11, 15 and 16 -- were taken into custody about 10:15 p.m. after the officer spotted a vehicle that matched a description provided by witnesses, Minneapolis police spokesman Sgt. William Palmer said on Tuesday.
Neighbors had called 911 about a second wave of vandalism Monday night after a previous one early Sunday.
When the vehicle was stopped at 38th Street and Columbus Avenue S., police discovered that the unlicensed 15-year-old was driving, Palmer said.
Police recovered evidence linking the suspects to the vandalism Monday night and early Sunday, he added. He declined to speak about the evidence or the suspects' vehicle. On Sunday, police indicated that the damage to vehicle windows might have been caused by two males in a truck using a baseball bat.
Each of the suspects was booked on suspicion of damage to property, a felony, and released.
A bulletin sent by police to 3rd Precinct residents on Tuesday afternoon said that the three boys had "confessed" to the crimes.
At the time of their arrest, they had been suspected of vandalizing at least 14 vehicles in a 10-square-block area between 8:30 and 10 p.m. Monday, Palmer said. That followed a spree early Sunday during which at least 126 vehicles were damaged in the Corcoran, Standish and Ericsson neighborhoods.
Palmer said the total damage was estimated between $100,000 and $200,000.
Monday night's vandalism, occurring between 27th and 37th Avenues and 34th and 44th Streets, played out virtually in real time on neighborhood message boards across the city. On the Standish Ericsson Neighbors Forum on Tuesday, City Council Member Sandra Colvin Roy commended neighbors for notifying police.
"Great work by the police and community!" she wrote.
On Tuesday, police still were looking into the actions of a fourth boy who was seen "running frantically toward the vehicle" while it was parked at 39th Street and Park Avenue S., a police report said.
The boy turned, ran and got away, Palmer said. It was not known whether he had been involved in the vandalism, Palmer said.
Anthony Lonetree • 612-673-4109