Suspects sought in mischief case

Published 5:02 pm Monday, December 12, 2011

Escambia County Sheriffs investigators are following leads in a case that left a county-owned business with more than $300,000 worth of damage to their equipment.

Chief Deputy Mike Lambert said the incident occurred sometime in the early hours of Dec. 8 at the Alger Road location of U.S.A. Ready Mix.

“When our investigators arrived on the scene it was obvious there was extensive damage to the property,” Lambert said. “The workers had arrived and discovered the damage.”

Lambert said the culprits in the case had gained access through the front gate sometime during the night.

“The best way to describe what happened is that they went on some sort of rampage,” Lambert said. “The damage was so extensive that it took several hours to determine just how much damage had been done.”

During the investigation on the morning of the incident, Lambert said it appeared the vandals used a front-end loader to destroy several other pieces of equipment at the business.

“We found a low-boy trailer destroyed, a road grader had been overturned, a Kenworth truck was destroyed when it was flipped over,” Lambert said. “At first, the front-end loader used to cause all of the damage wasn’t located. We had to call in extra help to locate the missing piece of equipment.”

Lambert said a search aircraft surveyed the area surrounding the crime scene and a boat was launched into the lake at the gravel yard to continue in the search.

“Based on evidence we gathered at the scene we determined the best place to search was in that lake,” Lambert said. “Using an underwater camera, we located the equipment about 40 feet down in that lake. That piece of equipment alone is estimated about at $112,000.”

Lambert said evidence collected at the scene of the crime has been linked to suspects in the case.

“We haven’t made any arrests, yet,” Lambert said. “But, we certainly expected to make some arrests in the case soon.”

Anyone with information regarding the incident at U.S.A. Ready Mix on Alger Road is asked to contact the Escambia County Sheriffs Department at 867-0304.