By Kathryn G. Menu; Photos by Carolyn Ouderkirk
As Carolyn and Jerry Ouderkirk drove to their Redwood Road, Sag Harbor home on Sunday afternoon Carolyn noticed a number of mailboxes scattered throughout the neighborhood.
“We hadn’t been home since the blizzard, so at first I thought it was the snowplow,” she said. “But then as we pulled up to our house we noticed there were no mailboxes in front of our house where we usually see three, and our fence was seriously damaged — part of it was on the ground, the rest was bent over, skewered and split in places.”
What the Ouderkirks came home to was a scene that many Redwood residents woke up to Sunday morning, after police believe a group of individuals, some likely using a truck, trashed mailboxes, fences, an outdoor light, and even a large cement flower pot throughout the Redwood neighborhood late Saturday night or in the early hours on Sunday.
“We know there was a party at one of the residences in Redwood and from what we understand unknown subjects came to the party, uninvited, and apparently left,” said Sag Harbor Village Police Chief Tom Fabiano on Wednesday morning. “We believe those are the possible suspects that caused the damage.”
Chief Fabiano confirmed police are investigating the use of a truck in the vandalism. Many of the over one dozen mailboxes pulled from the ground were cemented in.
Chief Fabiano said an investigation was ongoing and that Detective Jeffrey Proctor was leading the case — a case the Chief said he hoped would be resolved sooner rather than later.
Under New York State penal law, suspects in the case could face criminal mischief charges — a misdemeanor or felony crime depending on the extent of damage caused.
According to the police log, it was officer Patrick Milazzo who first noticed the damage in Redwood, around 6:30 a.m. Sunday morning. Shortly thereafter, Sergeant Thomas Pagano contacted the village highway department to report the village street sign at the corner of Cornell and Dartmouth roads had also been pulled out of the ground. Throughout the course of the day seven different residents contacted police about damage in the neighborhood, primarily mailboxes pulled out of the ground and sometimes smashed. Damages were reported between $50 to fix one mailbox to $5,000 to replace the damaged fence at the Ouderkirk residence.
On resident reported to police that a large number of trucks were heard circling the neighborhood, but only related that to the department the morning after the incident.
Dr. Tom Halton, a member of the village’s Harbor Committee and Redwood resident since 2004, woke up to find his mailbox smashed with what he believes was a baseball bat. A wooden whale Dr. Halton hand-carved was also smashed and his fence was damaged. A neighbor, said Dr. Halton, had an electric light post pulled from the ground on his property.
Empty cases of beer, beer cans and vodka bottles were strewn throughout the neighborhood, he added.
“Hopefully they get them,” said Dr. Halton on Wednesday. “I don’t want them to be put in jail or anything, but they should have to pay for what they broke and should have to give back in terms of community service.”
“It was a rampage,” he said.
“You feel violated when something like this happens,” said Ouderkirk, who found a New York State license plate on the scene and turned that evidence over to police Monday morning.
Chief Fabiano confirmed Wednesday police were investigating the connection between the license plate and potential suspects.
The Sag Harbor Village Police Department asks anyone with information regarding this case call their offices at 725-0247. All calls will be kept confidential.