COLUMBIA — Police have arrested four men in connection with the vandalization of 39 vehicles at the Virginia Avenue Garage early Sunday. Officers found the men at the garage, MU police Chief Jack Watring said. The MU police station is connected to the garage, and the garage is monitored by security cameras.
Tyler Eckert, 19, of Ballwin was arrested on charges of first-degree tampering, second-degree tampering and minor in possession. He was booked into the Boone County Jail and released on $10,300 bond at 2 p.m. Sunday. The other men, a 19-year-old and two 18-year-olds, were released on summonses.
Watring said the investigation would continue. Many students found their vehicles’ tires slashed or antennas broken. Others found vehicles dented or the paint deeply scratched.
Most of the vandalized vehicles were parked on the first level of the parking structure or in the metered lot on the east side of the garage, Watring said.
Anna Moeslein, a 19-year-old freshman at MU, was parked on the first level of the garage and found one of her tires slashed. She enlisted two friends, Nathan Lewis and Kevin Stroope, to help change her tire. Her friend, Aimee Loyet, came for moral support on the rainy afternoon.
“I guess you could say I’m pretty lucky to only have my tires slashed,” Moeslein said.
Another student, Evan Oliver, 18, said his car had been keyed.
He said he was grateful his tires had not been slashed, because he had just bought new tires. However, he said, he was “not exactly too pleased.”
Matthew Skarin, 20, walked to his car at 3 p.m. Sunday and noticed his front windshield had been smashed once he sat inside. He had parked his 2001 Saturn on the second level of the garage.
“They put a cigarette out on the windshield,” Skarin said.
Nathan Morris, 18, took pictures of his 2001 Nissan Sentra’s two slashed tires for his insurance.
“They are obviously not very smart,” Morris said. “They did it in a video-surveillanced garage.”